Southern men lead early, fall to Iowa St.

By Cheramie Sonnier

Advocate Food editor

When family and friends get together to celebrate Thanksgiving, holiday cooks must decide on a menu that will please everyone. Most will serve Grandma’s traditional menu and recipes, and turkey will be the star of the table.

Others will want to put their own spin on their family’s favorite turkey recipe by adding unique flavors. They will look for contemporary versions of classic holiday dishes. We are sharing turkey recipes for both the traditionalist and those who want to spice things up.

Here are some tips to help in preparing for the big day:

Allow one day for every 4 pounds of turkey. If you forget to remove it in time to thaw in the refrigerator, thaw in cold water by completely submerging the turkey, breast side down, in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes, and allow about 30 minutes per pound of turkey.

Butterball experts say an 8- to 12-pound turkey will take about two to three days to thaw in the refrigerator and four to six hours in cold water.

A 24- to 30-pound turkey will take six to seven days to thaw in the fridge or 12 to 15 hours in cold water.

Be sure not to over stuff the turkey or it may not cook all the way through. Not enough stuffing and it may be overcooked.

For more advice on cooking turkeys, call the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line at (800) 288-8372 or go to