With many families planning a scaled back thanksgiving, that means more first-time cooks and more plans to drop off food to others who won't be coming in person.
“We can help walk you through some of those different scenarios about preparing a meal in advance, cooling it down and then serving it later or sending it off to a family member that maybe can't celebrate with you,” said Andrea Balitewicz, Butterball Turkey Talk Line Supervisor.
The 1-800-Butterball Talk Line is open and ready. They recommend for anyone sharing their turkey with others to go ahead and cook it completely a day or two ahead of when you plan to drop off.
“And then, once it cools, you want to carve it off the turkey bones. And you want to store it safely in the refrigerator,” said Balitewicz. “Then you can slice it and package it in little containers with a little bit of gravy or stuffing or some potatoes.”
Balitewicz says the turkey is done once you hit 170 degrees in the breast area, 180 degrees in the thigh, and 165 degrees in the stuffing.
As for transporting the turkey, Balitewicz says to keep it hot or refrigerate it, based on when you plan on delivering it.
“If you're going to be transporting it hot, make sure it stays hot for the time that you're going to be making it to the family member that you're delivering it to. So, within the two to three hours, you want to keep it hot. If it's going to be longer than that, you want to make sure that you've refrigerated it and when you transport it, go ahead and keep it in a cooler and then they can heat it up when you deliver it.”
Leftovers are good for about three or four days, and longer if you freeze them.