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Turkey Hotline Hires Men For The First Time

It’s Thanksgiving morning.  You are in charge of cooking the turkey.  You wake up, turn WGNA on, and get everything ready to cook that perfect bird.  WHAT???  It’s still frozen??  What do you MEAN you have no idea how long to cook it?  Well fear not.  Butterball has been operating a toll-free hotline for 23 years.  Any questions you may have about how to prepare and how to cook the perfect turkey can be answered.  This year for the first time, males were hired and trained to answer hotline questions.

It makes perfect sense.  Butterball keeps track of data coming into the hotline and  according to Butterball CEO Rod Brenneman, 1/4th of all calls are now coming from men.  Earlier this year the company launched a nationwide search for a group of turkey-loving men to help field the questions of inquisitive cooks and answer to the increasingly male demographic of its callers.

RJ Jaramillo, 49, a mortgage banker who blogs about food as a side dish to his job, became the first man to be part of the turkey talk-line, handled exclusively by more than 50 women in previous years.

The people who work the hotline are not just reading off of cue cards.  They actually had to go through “Butterball University” training for three days with over 40 turkey professionals learning and helping to cook turkey and RJ Jaramillo is no exception!

So what’s the oddest questions he’s been asked? Jaramillo recalled a woman from Mississippi, who said she invited so many people that she’d need a 33 pound turkey to serve all of them.

“I said, ‘ma’am, that’s not a turkey, that’s an ostrich,’” Jaramillo said. He said he was able to talk her out of a panic, and locate a 20 pound turkey, plus an additional bone-in-breast made by Butterball.

And what’s his biggest piece of advice? Make sure your turkey is completely thawed before cooking it.  Now if you forgot to take your turkey out of the freezer, you may be in a bit of trouble.  Your only option beside take out or crashing someone else’s dinner is to start a cool water bath for your turkey at a rate of approximately 1/2 hour per pound constantly circulating the water. It will be a bit labor intensive, but it works.  If you still have a little bit of ice crystals inside after thawing, rinsing the bird really well or doing a short cool water bath should solve your crisis.

Rule of thumb for cooking your bird is apx. 20 minutes per pound.  Any less than that and you may spend some quality time in your bathroom or worse in your local ER with food poisoning rather than chasing all of those Black Friday deals at the store.

If you’ve got turkey troubles or just need someone to ease your fears on the big day, call 1-800-BUTTERBALL. You might get lucky and reach RJ after all!  I fully expect next holiday season as I am walking through the mall to see a calendar themed “Men of Butterball.”

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