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Butterball experts have tips for cooks ahead of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Dinner, Falmouth, Maine, USA 2008 By Alcinoe (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Thanksgiving Dinner, Falmouth, Maine, USA 2008 By Alcinoe (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

UNDATED (WSAU) -- If you haven't started yet, it's time to get ready for cooking turkey, and the folks at the Butterball talkline have some tips for last minute cookers.

Butterball talkline expert Charla Draper says if you haven't started thawing your turkey yet, just put it in the sink and run some water on it for a couple of hours. "We suggest you put your turkey breast down in the sink, still in the original package, and that will get that thaw process speeded up so it's ready to cook on Thursday morning." That bird should be completely thawed in a couple of hours rather than a few days in the fridge.

Once to have your bird, it's time to think cooking. Draper says there's no good way to speed up that cooking process, so take it easy and start early. "Allow time for them to thaw completely. You want to cook at 325 degrees. Low and slow, which is a lower temperature that sometimes people think."

You should have your thermometer handy as well to make sure it's ready. "We suggest you use a roasting thermometer or a instant thermometer. When the turkey is done, the thigh or dark meat should register 180, and the breast or white meat should register 165 to 170." The cooking time could take longer if you're cooking your stuffing inside the turkey as opposed to on the side, so the best method is to make sure it's hot enough.

Draper says it's safety first if you're planning to deep fry your turkey. "Make sure the turkey is completely thawed out and patted dry. You don't want to put a turkey that's still icy or wet in that hot oil."

For more tips, the Butterball Turkey Helpline is open through Christmas and is toll free. That phone number is 1-800-BUTTERBALL, or you can find them online at Butterball.com or on your mobile device in the app store.