Courtesy of Butterball

The poultry brand’s helpful hotline is going high-tech this holiday season.

Adam Campbell-Schmitt
November 01, 2018
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Roasting a turkey is one of those culinary traditions that seems simple enough in theory, but often causes the most headaches of holiday entertaining. Sure, you might be a master of basting and browning a four-pound chicken every other season, but scale that up to a family feast-sized gobbler that you only get to take a crack at once or twice a year, and it’s a whole ‘nother ballgame. Thankfully, every Thanksgiving since 1981 the folks at Butterball have operated their Turkey Talk-Line, a direct link to experts who can answer all of your pressing poultry questions. This year, however, Butterball is adding one more name to its list of handy helpers: Alexa.

For the first time, users of any of Amazon’s Alexa-enable devices (like the Echo) can request turkey-making tips by saying “Alexa, ask Butterball…” That means while your hands are covered in stuffing and giblets, you can seek some help from the internet without smearing the screen on your smartphone. Of course, part of the appeal of the Turkey Talk-Line has always been the fact that there's an actual person on the phone. So to answer those queries, Butterball’s actual experts (Beth, Chris, and Marge, to be exact) have prerecorded responses to dozens of common issues which will be played back on the device. For Alexa-enabled devices with screens (like the Echo Show and Fire TV Cube), video walkthroughs are available.

"Every year it's evolved a little bit to help people as the times change. This will be my sixth year with the Turkey Talk-Line and I'm one of three voices on the Butterball skill," Butterball expert Beth Somers explained to me as she demostrated the new service. "The app is filled with our most frequently asked questions and those are based on 37 years of call data. Some of those questions include thawing, how to prep your turkey for roasting, how much turkey you're going to need to buy, things like that. It's pretty comprehensive, especially for a first-time cook."

Additionally, you'll hear Alexa's familiar voice helping out with calculations like cook times and pounds-per-person math and guiding you through the Butterball skill even if you don't know exactly what to ask. You can also ask Butterball for fun turkey facts, a pep talk while you're in the thick of Thanksgiving dinner preparations, or even suggestions on what you should be thankful for. And if there's anything Alexa can't answer, the skill will give you the contact information for the Turkey Talk-Line.

But don't worry: If you’d prefer a live person on the other end of the conversation to begin with, you can always call the traditional phone line at 1-800-BUTTERBALL between November 1 and December 24 (and yes, you just might hear Chris, Beth, or Marge pick up the phone). Assistance from the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line is also available via text (844-877-3456), email, live chat on Butterball.com, and Butterball’s social media accounts, along with how-to videos on the brand’s YouTube channel.

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