Thanksgiving Turkey Tips and Helplines (Video)

Thanksgiving is a time when families gather around the dinner table for a fabulous, decadent meal of perfectly made golden brown turkey with all the trimmings.

The only problem is that unless you're Martha Stewart, you probably won't get it right.

Questions run through our minds like how do I thaw out, then cook the turkey? When do I brine or baste? If I cook the stuffing in the turkey, will I kill my guests with bacteria?

Don't panic. Seek Help. Operating much like any helpline, these online and phone-based lifelines are staffed with real live cooking experts designed to talk you down from the proverbial holiday ledge.

We've compiled a list of websites and helplines that are open now through Thanksgiving day. Take a deep breath, because help is just a phone call or click away.

Martha Stewart Radio Thanksgiving Hotline

Stewart has put together a group of celebrity chefs including Emeril

Lagasse, Sara Moulton, and Eric Ripert to help you through any

Thanksgiving-related disasters during the fifth annual Martha Stewart

Living Radio Thanksgiving Hotline. Today, November 22nd and tomorrow

Wednesday, November 23,Martha and friends will be available to answer

your questions, live on Martha Stewart Living Radio on Sirius/XM

satellite. Even if you can't listen, you can call the helpline at

866-675-6675 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET.

Foster Farms Helpline

California-based turkey farm raised the Presidential turkey that was

offered a pardon last year and the company offers a website filled with

turkey tips and a turkey helpline, though they're closed on Thanksgiving

day. Speak with a live customer service rep today or tomorrow from 11

a.m. to 8 p.m. EST by calling 1-800-255-7227.

U.S.D.A. Meat Hotline


you're afraid of killing your guests or like to talk to friendly

bureaucrats, this hotline is for you. The hotline has a series of

pre-recorded messages that answer all your questions on safe meat

handling, cross-contamination, and how not to send everyone to the

hospital. Though the site promises a live person Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.,

we tried twice during those hours and still got a (helpful) recording.

You can also "Ask Karen", for advice by accessing a drop down menu of

options like "safe food handling", and "food storage" here. 1-888-MPHOTLINE.

Reynolds Kitchen Helpline

Wrap has a website offering Thanksgiving recipes like pumpkin cake,

mashed potatoes, and roasted vegetables -- all using Reynolds Wrap.

Their hotline offers pre-recorded turkey thawing and roasting help.


Butterball Turkey Talk Line

first and best known hotline takes about 100,000 calls a year from

frustrated chefs, according to director Mary Clingman. Not to worry,

because when we called, we waited less than two minutes before one of

the hotline's 61 ladies cheerily asked how she could help us. According

to Clingman, every helpline lady is a professional home economist, cook

book author, or cooking instructor. Not only will they answer

questions about how to cook a moist turkey, they'll help you with

shopping tips, food safety, and recipes for side dishes and desserts.

The helpline is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and tomorrow, and from 7

a.m. to 7 p.m. Thanksgiving day. Call them at 1-800-BUTTERBALL or email

them at


online tip site, filled with easy to follow recipes and videos, this

site will walk you through how to cook a turkey, make mashed potatoes,

and bake the perfect pie. No live chat or helpline, but some good tips,

like this video on how to roast the perfect bird:

Follow Short Order on Facebook and Twitter @Short_Order.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss