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Thanksgiving's not father's holiday anymore: Butterball CEO

Thanksgiving isn't just a day to celebrate the harvest of the Pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock centuries ago. It's also a day that Butterball CEO Kerry Doughty refers to as his company's Super Bowl.

Still, Doughty acknowledges this isn't your grandfather's family celebration anymore.

"While there [are] still nostalgic Thanksgiving meals, preparations now include smoking, brining and deep frying, which we haven't seen in the past," Doughty told CNBC in an interview. In keeping with the digital age, the company provides a step-by-step manual for some of these techniques online.

What hasn't changed, however, is that Butterball remains smack in the middle of the annual turkey extravaganza. The company claims 1 out of every 4 Thanksgiving turkeys are theirs, but Doughty actually considers the poultry a loss leader. He believes grocery stores lure shoppers in with low turkey prices to push other baskets of goods.

Read MoreFutures are bright for turkey as costs stay low

Butterball frozen turkeys are displayed for sale at a Walmart store in Los Angeles, Nov. 26, 2013.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Butterball frozen turkeys are displayed for sale at a Walmart store in Los Angeles, Nov. 26, 2013.

The consumer outlook for Butterball is bright: Tame food and energy costs may put consumers in the mood to buy more turkey with trimming.

According to the recent report by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the cost to feed a family of 10 a complete Thanksgiving dinner went up less than 1 percent from last year by 37 cents, averaging $49.41, which is still slightly less than prices in 2012.

Even more good news for consumers is that a drop in retail gas prices also makes it cheaper to drive to grandma's house for the big meal.

Read MoreLow gas prices dent demand for fuel-efficient cars

Cook a turkey? We have an app for that

Another trend benefiting turkey demand is food consumption patterns. High in protein and low in fat has helped turkey become the new black for U.S. diets. According to the National Turkey Federation, nearly 5 billion pounds of turkey is consumed in the U.S. annually.

For the technology savvy who know how to use a mobile device, yet are less savvy around the kitchen, Butterball has an app for that. The company is engaging nearly half a million consumers via Facebook, Twitter and mobile applications available on Android and iPhones.

Then there's the old-fashioned method: the telephone. Since 1981, Butterball's Turkey Talk-Line has been answering turkey cooking questions and concerns.

Doughty says 50 turkey experts are on hand to answer thousands of frenzied calls. Meanwhile, Butterball has updated its customer response system to embrace younger customers, many of whom prefer to ask questions with the click of a mouse or the touch of a screen.

"Millennials don't necessarily want to place a call," he said. "They want to be able to go online and get all their questions answered."

While some of these calls are straightforward, others can get a little strange.

"One caller asked how long it would take to thaw their turkey out in the rinse cycle of their washing machine," said Doughty.

Doughty added that the toll-free hotline is available all year round, so anyone can call Butterball anytime they want to talk turkey.