Smaller groups gather during Thanksgiving, experts say to plan ahead

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The turkeys are roasting inside the Elbow Room in Northwest Fresno.

"We have 150 turkeys and it takes about nine hours in an alto-shaam overnight. We have a graveyard shift overnight to make sure everything is sanitary and safe, cooked properly and pulled properly so we can portion that out," said Eric Rodriguez, Elbow Room Executive Chef

Work is underway to put together preordered meals for pickup. The Elbow Room reached their box orders, but their other restaurant, Riley's Brew Pub, is still selling the boxes of Turkeys and traditional sides.

This year, the restaurant will be open Thanksgiving Day and selling food.

"We've had 30 or 40 more to go orders where people come curbside or door dash. So I think in the aggregate, our sales are going to be very similar to a normal Thanksgiving. People are using in some fashion are utilizing the various ways to get a great meal in front of their family," said Mike Shirinian, Elbow Room & Riley's Brew Pub owner.

With the pandemic, people are not gathering as much and that leaves more people to cook or find a place to eat.

We also spoke Butterball Turkey experts about what you need to know.

"What you need to do today is get your turkey into some cold water. That is a really quick way to get your frozen turkey thawed and ready to go in the oven," said Beth Somers, Butterball turkey expert.

Experts recommend using a meat thermometer to determine if its cooked. You will want it to be roasted to 170 degrees in the breast area and 180 in the thigh area.

The hotline will be open this year.

"What's different this year is we are all working remotely from our own home kitchens. So there are a variety of ways to reach us you can call us at 1-800 Butterball," Somers said.

If you're looking for family meals, you can also order from Boston Market and Mimi's Cafe.

So whether you decide to make your turkey at home or decide someone else to do the cooking for you. It's best to plan ahead.
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