The 5 Stupidest Questions People Ask The Butterball Turkey Hotline

If you’ve ever wondered why companies like Butterball have a Turkey Talk-Line to help people cook a bird that, in theory, shouldn’t require all that much effort, here are some examples why.

A Reuters editor talked to the call-fielders at Butterball and came back with these head-scratching gems:

*Is it okay to thaw my turkey in the bathtub while bathing my kids?

*Can I brine my turkey in the washing machine?

*Can I use my oven’s self-cleaning cycle to speed up the cooking process?

*If I cut my turkey with a chainsaw will the oil affect the taste?

*Can I take my frozen turkey into my sauna to thaw it faster?

If you need to know the answers to any of these, then you should probably call the Butterball line… or order in for Thanksgiving.

Are you smarter than your turkey? [Reuters]


Edit Your Comment

  1. chaesar says:

    here is a much worse question

    • HoJu says:

      Thats not a dumb question, that’s an IMPORTANT question! One that should be left to Adam and Jamie!

    • shepd says:

      Depends on which prong you puke into first, and whether or not there’s any other items on the circuit that are drawing power. Even neutral can kill on a loaded line, but if you bridge ground, then neutral, then hot, you might get lucky and the electrons will flow through the path of least resistance.

    • echovictorecho says:

      I love you.

  2. framitz says:

    So is the chainsaw a problem if I lube the chain with Olive Oil?

  3. squirrel says:

    I need to post this article over at 4chan. I will guarantee the list will be different next year, and somehow Battletoads will factor into it.

  4. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    I’d like to think I’m pretty resilient to trolling, but, every year when the reminder that the President is going to pardon a turkey on Thanksgiving rears it’s head, I just get completely mental.

    I don’t know why, but I just wanna smack people around. Pardoned from what crime? Being a turkey? There’s a lot more turkeys than that one, shouldn’t they all be pardoned? What if the pardoned turkey is released into the wild and some other dude shoots it and cooks it up? Is that double jeopardy?

    Turkeys are serious business. I’m going to call the Butterball line this year and ask about, instead of chicken, how to make a turkey


    • Joedel263 says:

      Since 2005 the Pardoned Turkeys have been sent to live at Disney World.. Not a bad life..

      • roguemarvel says:

        I thought they all went to disneyland. i’ve seen a few myself

        • ahecht says:

          You’re both right. In 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2009 the turkeys went to Disneyland. In 2008 they went to Disney World. In 2010 they are going to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estates and Gardens in Virginia.

          The official practice of pardoning turkeys started in 1989 (although George W. Bush claims that Lincoln pardoned his son’s pet turkey), and the 1989-2004 birds were sent back to Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, Virginia to live out the rest of their natural lives.

          • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

            um, quick question then… WHERE at walt disney world do they go to live? because there’s a predator problem with the chickens and peacocks at walt disney world’s fort wilderness campground and if they are sent to the farm animal petting zoo there .. it might be a sweet but short life.
            my former roommate worked there for years and talked about peacock and rooster replacement all the time

            • hotdogsunrise says:

              Discovery Island is still in use, but doesn’t have many people visit there. If I’m correct. So maybe there? Can’t think of any other place.

              • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

                so there will be an all out egret/ibis/turkey war? the sheer number of non inventoried bird species on discovery island is mind boggling.
                turkey vs scarlet ibis – who would win? i can see that as a new disney channel show

      • fantomesq says:

        I’ve seen them at Disneyland… There are probably many pardoned turkeys each year…

      • Murph1908 says:
        • blueneon says:

          I like that, according to the article, the pardoned turkey has an “alternate”. Like it’s going to have its title removed and be killed after all??

    • XTC46 says:

      Why would somone getting shot be double jepordy? Double jepordy is when a person is accused and found innocent of a crime, and then charge of the same crime again.

      • Bill610 says:

        Yes, but following Applekid’s logic, if the turkey was pardoned, and then spared, he must have been pardoned for something, even if it’s the crime of being a turkey…or perhaps aggravated deliciousness…so if he’s subsequently executed anyway, it would be double jeopardy if the execution was for the same crime.

        I have no idea why I’m answering this, but it seemed important at the time.

        • Qantaqa says:

          Alright, I now must use that phrase. I’m thinking of wearing sunglasses when the turkey comes out and saying all suave-like “You’ve been found guilty…*takes off sunglasses* of aggravated deliciousness.” And then the Who will play from some mysterious source.

    • David in Brasil says:

      How is turkee made?


  5. evilpete says:

    What? No classic explosive dropping of the frozen turkey into the deep fryer ?

  6. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    I’m thinking vegetarians should eat farmed turkey since they are not as smart as a carrot. We knew a turkey farmer and he’d have to cover the knotholes in the fence otherwise turkeys would stick their head through and strangle themselves. He’d have to leave the dead turkeys like that until he could cover the hole because as soon as he pulls out the lifeless head, another turkey would poke through.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:


    • pf3 says:

      Who needs relevance?

    • Gulliver says:

      Well if more people were vegetarians, then farmers would not have FENCES that kill the birds.

      • Jimmy60 says:

        I live in Saskatchewan, one of the world’s largest grain producing areas. Grain and other plant farming is absolutely devastating to waterfowl habitat. Many birds have died and been displaced to put a loaf of bread on your table.

        Cattle are often raised on land that would be very poor at producing crops of any variety. Many people feel that raising meat is easier on the land and the wildlife of an area. While crops dominate an eco-system grazing herds often blend right in. Vegans would do well to learn something about farming.

        • MaliBoo Radley says:

          I love you.

        • shockwaver1 says:

          “I live in Saskatchewan”…

          …No body is perfect, it’s ok.

        • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

          Up there in Saskatchewan, do they know about the factory farms we have in America, that do not “blend right in”, but instead require mass productions practices that jeopardize the safety of not only the meat produced, but the crops that are fertilized with their waste?

          I understand your point, but it also sounds like a point coming from idealized cattle farming practices. My family were all farmers until my parents generation. Family farming practices WERE much better for the land than the immense factory farms that exist now.

        • kennedar says:

          My husband and I were talking about this the other day. We are in Alberta, are there the huge factory farms here that there are in the states? Because we watched Food Inc and were totally turned off of meat. But then we were driving through farm country (out to Banff and back) and only saw animals being raised on “good” farms, like they had a ton of space to wander and such. So now we have no idea how farm animals are raised and are even more confused!

      • LadyTL says:

        Why don’t I ever hear about vegetarians going out into nature to stop hawks, mountain lions and wolves from eating meat since they claim eating meat of any kind is bad?

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          possibly because the vegetarians who tried that were eaten by bears?
          sorry vegetarians, i couldn’t resist

        • kc2idf says:

          Speaking as a vegetarian, but not speaking for all vegetarians . . .

          I choose not to eat meat. I don’t impose that on anyone. I only even mention it when (a) the topic of vegetarianism has been raised or (b) I need to make some sort of meal arrangement.

          The hawk, mountain lion, bear and other carnivorous animals do not have this option. Unlike humans, they must eat meat to survive.

          Try picking up a narrower brush when you go to paint people.

        • Disappointed says:

          Also speaking as a vegetarian…many animals are true carnivores (such as feline species like the mountain lion, or the house cat) who MUST eat meat to survive. Homo sapiens (that’s us) has no such biological requirement–we are omnivores who have the ability to eat both meat and plants.

          So, no, I am actually just fine with carnivorous animals in the wild, who have no other choice, killing and eating other animals to survive.

          Also, I see meat-eating by humans as being an unnecessary cruelty. As I said, there is no need for us to kill animals for food–we can be just as healthy living only on grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, etc. I find no pleasure in needless torture and death.

          • mmmsoap says:

            “we can be just as healthy living only on grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, etc.”

            What you’re describing is not vegetarianism, but veganism. And no, odds are you won’t be just as healthy being a vegan. People on a vegan diet almost always end up with some essential protein deficiencies. Some can make it work, although it’s pretty rare that it’s sustainable long term, but it require intense micromanaging of your diet. And taking of supplements.

            Healthy vegetarians though? Absolutely. But you’ll need to toss in some eggs or cheese to that list you gave above. Being omnivores doesn’t mean that we can eat both plans and animals, but we must eat both plants and animal food sources.

            • ResearchGuy says:

              Yes – you nailed the point I was about to make on Omnivore meaning we it it ALL. If was a choice, we’d be called Multivores.

  7. NotarySojac says:

    The food reporter for our local newspaper does a “dumb questions” segment a couple of times a year.

    My all time favorite was “I’m cooking a Thanksgiving turkey. How do I make gravy with its droppings??”

  8. TheGreySpectre says:

    There is a sentence about a women who cooked her turkey upside down.

    I would like to note that if done right if you start a turkey upside down and then turn it over partway you actually get a much better tasting turkey with juicier breast meat.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      i would like to second that. here are two turkeys i’ve cooked breast down to start and turned them back up to finish browning

      please note that turkey #2 actually deboned itself when i tried to tuck the legs back in the pan after taking this picture. juiciest turkey i ever cooked

      • webweazel says:

        I did this last year, but I did it so the thighs would cook a little faster. (I don’t truss.) It DID work well, although I flipped the bird at about the halfway point of cooking rather than near the end as you did. It was definitely juicier.

        Here’s a question though: Are you supposed to use a rack? Does it help to cook them better? I use a rack, and the rack left “grill” marks on the breast when I flipped. Should I use the rack only after flipping, or do I not need it at all?

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          i never used a rack in my life. i use a 20 inch cast iron skillet. there’s also room in there to cook up the nasty bits which i then boil for stock and give to my dog for treats.
          i’ve also made a turkey in a regular roasting pan and a broiling pan but i like the cast iron better.
          and when i have removed all the meat i put the bones in a cast iron dutch oven and roast them before i make stock. get a much richer flavor. the dutch oven is because it’s covered so the bones don’t scorch.

  9. meg99 says:

    Did you forget to mention the part where she started a website to take donations for her loans? I don’t feel sorry for her at all. She borrowed to go abroad for a year, and she did not work during undergrad. She also doesn’t mention her GPA while she is begging for funds to cover her loans. I wonder how she did at school?

  10. Bob Lu says:

    I actually want to know the answer about #2 and #4

    • B says:

      If you can keep the water temperature below 40 degrees F and the turkey is completely submerged, it ought to be fine. That is, as long as you;re not worried about soap residue or possible mold from the washing machine getting into the brine and then onto the turkey. Now that I think about it, it’s a really bad idea. Just get one of those Gatorade coolers, fill it with ice, water, brine ingredients and turkey, and store it outside, in a garage or covered porch.
      As for the Chainsaw. Well, that’s just a really bad idea.

  11. Buckus says:

    “What kind of backscatter x-ray do I use to make sure the turkey doesn’t have explosives under its scrotum?”

  12. energynotsaved says:

    OH MY GOSH! The next big kitchen tool! The electric Kitchen Chainsaw, lubed by olive oil. It will be HUGE. A show on Food Network. Shoot. I knew I should have been an engineer.

    Gosh. I want one. Smart people, get to work in time for next year. I can see it: THE TOOL THAT BROUGHT AMERICA OUT OF THE RECESSION. The talk show route. Millions sold.

    Lust for a new kitchen tool. (And I don’t even cook/bake/do stuff that doesn’t require a microwave or coffee pot.)

    (Hey, who ever runs with this, would you send me a free one?)

  13. PsiCop says:

    They should make people get licenses before buying turkeys …

  14. Beeker26 says:

    1.) Yes. And if you use moisturizing soap the bird will have a silky smooth complexion.
    2.) Yes, just don’t forget the Oxy-Clean. You want a bright white bird, don’t ya?
    3.) Yes, as long as you’re ok with it coming out burnt to a crisp.
    4.) Yes. And if anyone questions the odd taste, just tell them you’re trying a new spice rub.
    5.) Yes. Not only will it thaw faster, but it should open up all its pores as well.

  15. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    The washing machine actually seams like a legit option, other than temperature issues. Run a couple of cycles with no soap to get all the residual soap out. fill it with water then taste to see if you taste any soap. At that concentration, you may be able to taste it, but it won’t hurt you.

    Run a couple more for good luck and use a couple of mesh bags for the herb and spices.

    The only real issues I see are:
    1) the temp of the turkey in the washing machine will be too high and encourage bacterial growth. Maybe putting ice in would keep it cold enough to be safe.
    2) getting the salt water out of the tub. I would scoop out as much as I could then refill the tub and scoop again, then run a hot water cycle or 2 to clean it.

    Yes, I do cook. I am in the second night of making Thanksgiving dinner for 20. The only help is my 10 yo daughter.

    • Sparkstalker says:

      If you’re cooking for 20, then this is what you need for the turkey:

      7 minutes per pound. That’s it. Two Christmases ago, I had a half frozen 20+lb bird that finished in two and a half hours. And it was the best turkey I’ve ever had. Presentation wasn’t great (it split apart when I pulled it out of the cooker), but no one remembered that after tasting it.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      garbage bag. really. my sister brines her turkey in a garbage bag inside a cooler. i could see a washing machine with no agitator being a good place for that. with an agitator it’d get in the way.
      but she puts the garbage bag in the cooler, places the turkey in it, covers in brine, squishes the air out and ties off the bag, then packs ice all around it and shuts the lid. it stays cold all day and night, doesn’t dilute the brine and with the garbage bag being able to be wrapped tight around the turkey, she can use a lot less brine.

  16. Straspey says:

    And always remember two things…

    Before putting lettuce in the refrigerator, make sure to place your head in a paper bag.


    Practice safe eating. Use condiments.

    Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

    • Phil Villakeepinitrreal says:

      I’m confused though. Which head do we place in a paper bag? There’s two possible heads here after all…three, if you’re one of the fellas. ;)

  17. Straspey says:

    And always remember two things…

    Before putting lettuce in the refrigerator, make sure to place your head in a paper bag.


    Practice safe eating. Use condiments.

    Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

  18. Griking says:

    My guess is that a number of people call these lines just to mess with the people who answer the phones.

  19. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    My Grandma must have been really special…she always let me help in the kitchen at Thanksgiving time (and other family dinners), even when I was pretty small. She taught me a lot about cooking turkey, making stuffing and gravy, and baking pies.

    I cannot believe, even with written instructions on the side of the plastic wrap most turkeys come in, that people can’t cook a turkey. Many times our turkeys were from a local farmer, and we received them wrapped in brown paper nested in a cardboard box.

    I’m thankful she took the time to teach me these things so I’m not one of those hapless souls calling the helpline.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      My mom taught me the basics of cooking–I created my own recipe at the tender age of four–but for the most part she just set my pre-teen self loose in the kitchen from time to time, armed with an ancient Betty Crocker cookbook, a tin of recipe cards and the instructions to “Make something for dinner.”

      Betty taught me to cook much better than Mom ever did, and as I got older, I stopped following the recipes so closely. My Dill Dumplings are the talk of the town. Er. The townhouse. In which I live.

      ((My “original recipe” was based on the simple logic that “I like mayonaise on sandwiches” and “I like jelly on sandwiches” thus “mayonaise + jelly = an awesome sandwich!” … I made it myself when Mom insisted I would hate it. I stubbornly ate every bite.))

  20. Mudilo says:

    the sauna one sounds legit.

  21. Billy says:

    Can’t these dumfucks just follow a recipe like everyone else? It will probably work and it’s not that fuckin’ hard.

  22. FrankReality says:

    Minnesota’s 250 turkey farms grow 49 million turkeys annually (this excludes politicians) making the state #1 in turkey production.

    The National Turkey Federation estimates approximately 45 million turkeys are eaten at Thanksgiving, 22 million at Christmas, and 19 million at Easter.

    So, go ahead and eat your fill… we’ll grow more.

  23. nodaybuttoday says:

    is “stupidest” a word?

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Valid word, but not always necessarily valid grammar.

      It’s perfectly cromulent, if you ask me. ;3

  24. coren says:

    Operator: Hello, welcome to the Butterball Hotline.
    Toby: What the hell is…
    Bartlet: Shhhh. Hello!!
    Operator: How can I help you, sir?
    Bartlet: Well, first let me say, I think this is a wonderful service you provide.
    Operator: Well, thank you. May I have your name please?
    Bartlet: I’m a citizen.
    Operator: I’m sure you are, sir, but if I have your name I can put your comments in our customer feedback form.
    Bartlet: I’m Joe Betherson…ton. That’s one ‘t’, and with an ‘h’ in there.
    Operator: And your address?
    Bartlet: Fargo.
    Operator: Your street address, please?
    Toby: Zip code, Fargo, North Dakota, right now.
    Bartlet: My street address is 114… 54 Pruder Street, and it’s very important that you put ‘street’ down there because sometimes it gets confused with Pruder Way and Pruder Lane. Apartment 23 R… Fargo, North Dakota… Zip code 50504.
    Operator: Thank you. Your voice sounds very familiar to me.
    Bartlet: I do radio commercials for… products.
    Operator: And how can I help you?
    Bartlet: Stuffing should be stuffed inside the turkey, am I correct?
    Operator: It can also be baked in a casserole dish.
    Bartlet: Well, then we’d have to call it something else, wouldn’t we?
    Operator: I suppose.
    Bartlet: If I cook it inside the turkey, is there a chance I could kill my guests? I’m not saying that’s necessarily a deal-breaker.
    Operator: Well, there are some concerns. Two main bacterial problems are Salmonella and Campylobacter jejuni.
    Bartlet: All right. Well, first of all, I think you made the second bacteria up, and second of all, how do I avoid it?
    Operator: Make sure all the ingredients are cooked first. Sauté any vegetables, fried sausage, oysters, etc.
    Bartlet: Excellent! Let’s talk temperature.
    Operator: One hundred and sixty-five degrees.
    Bartlet: No, see, I was testing you! The USDA calls for turkeys to be cooked to an internal temperature of 180 to 185 degrees.
    Operator: Yes, sir, I was talking about the stuffing which you want to cook to 165 to avoid health risks.
    Bartlet: Okay. Good testing!
    Operator: Do you have an accurate thermometer?
    Bartlet: Oh yeah. It was presented to me as a gift from the personal sous chef to the king of… auto sales in…
    Toby: Fargo.
    Bartlet: Fargo. Phil Baharnd. The man can sell a car like… well, like anything.
    Operator: Very good, sir. You have a good Thanksgiving!
    Bartlet: And you do, too. Thanks a lot! That was excellent! We should do that once a week.

  25. HalOfBorg says:
  26. Dirty oldLady says:

    What if… when the Pilgrims went out- they didn’t find a Turkey? What if all they could find was a Beaver? Would we have Butterball Butter-Basted Beaver with a pop-up timer? Do you want light meat or dark?

  27. Winteridge2 says:

    Word of advice: only cut the turkey with your chain saw if the turkey is frozen. NEVER if it is still alive!