RACHEL BELLE

Nearly 70% of Butterball Turkey Talk-Line customers will make a recipe from social media

Nov 4, 2021, 5:46 AM
Butterball, turkey...
(Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash)
(Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash)

Thanksgiving is three weeks away, and if you have any cooking questions, you can always call the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. This is the 40th year that Butterball has offered up the service and it’s open now through Christmas Eve.

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“We just opened, so we’ll get more, ‘How much turkey should we have for this many people?’ type of questions. Then the few days before Thanksgiving, we troubleshoot, like, ‘Oh, no! My turkey’s not cooking!’ or ‘My oven broke, what should I do?'” said Samantha Woulfe, a registered dietician who has manned the Turkey Talk-Line the last three years.

Woulfe was not who I was expecting. I’ve always imagined a powder scented room full of grannies on rotary phones, doling out cooking advice between Werther’s Originals. But Woulfe says the 50 turkey talkers are a diverse group of chefs and dieticians.

“Everyone has to pass the Butterball University, lots of trainings, so we do a series of tastings and we cook turkeys different ways and we learn all about turkey for a few days in October. I’m happy to say I passed Butterball University, so I’m able to chat with people and help them through their Thanksgiving,” Woulfe said.

This year, Butterball is stepping into the modern era.

“Butterball is now on TikTok,” Woulfe said.

A recent Butterball survey found that 69% of people polled plan to make a Thanksgiving recipe they got from social media, and 73% have cooked a meal based on a viral food trend. So Butterball created four recipes based on cooking methods they’ve seen trending on TikTok.

“The stuffing waffle sandwich — we had the stuffing, of course, as the waffle part, we used mashed sweet potatoes, leftover turkey, whole cranberry sauce, the gravy and we put green beans in there, I think for color,” Woulfe explained.

I can vouch for this trend. I’ve made a crispy, leftover Thanksgiving stuffing waffle the past few Thanksgivings — 10/10, it’s much better than Black Friday shopping.

They also created an air fryer recipe.

“The Thanksgiving roll-up,” as Woulfe called it. “It’s turkey breast and in the roll-up is sweet potato, cranberry sauce, we top it with mushroom soup, and then it has a Cajun seasoning. You roll that up and then you air fry it. It’s my favorite tool in the kitchen.”

They also made TikTok videos for a pickle brined turkey and a spicy, dry brined turkey.

Butterball has definitely tried to keep up with trends over the last 40 years. In 1985, in response to microwave mania, Turkey Talk-Line experts offered a turkey microwave recipe. In 2013, they hired the very first men for the Talk-Line, because women aren’t the only ones in the kitchen. And you can now text the Turkey Talk-Line or call it up using Alexa.

Woulfe says they get 15,000 calls on Thanksgiving alone.

“My personal favorites involve thawing. They left it in the trunk of their car, or it’s in the garage, or a raccoon got to it in the middle of the night, is it still OK to prepare?” Woulfe laughs. “Don’t eat it if an animal gets to it.”

Click here to access the Talk-Line.

Listen to Rachel Belle’s James Beard Award nominated podcast, “Your Last Meal.” Follow @yourlastmealpodcast on Instagram!

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Nearly 70% of Butterball Turkey Talk-Line customers will make a recipe from social media