Becky Luigart-Stayner; Jan Gautro
12 servings (serving size: 6 ounces turkey and about 1/4 cup gravy)

Brining makes for a juicier bird, and the subtle flavors of the brine soak into the turkey. Kosher salt works well for the brine because it dissolves more easily than table salt. If you have time and refrigerator space, the brining procedure is worthwhile. If not, the turkey will still be quite good.

How to Make It

Step 1

To prepare brine, combine first 6 ingredients in a large stockpot, stirring until salt dissolves.

Step 2

To prepare turkey, remove and reserve giblets and neck from turkey. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Add turkey to pot, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours, turning occasionally.

Step 3

Preheat oven to 375°.

Step 4

Bring cola and 1/2 cup syrup to a boil in a small saucepan; cook 1 minute.

Step 5

Combine thyme, sage, seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Remove turkey from brine, discarding brine; pat dry. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Rub thyme mixture under loosened skin; sprinkle inside body cavity. Place 4 garlic cloves and onions in body cavity. Tie ends of legs together with twine. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey.

Step 6

Place turkey on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Insert a meat thermometer into meaty part of a thigh, making sure not to touch bone. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes. Pour cola mixture over turkey; cover with foil. Bake an additional 1 hour and 45 minutes or until thermometer registers 180°. Remove turkey from pan, reserving drippings for gravy. Place turkey on a platter. Cover loosely with foil; let stand 10 minutes. Remove twine. Discard skin.

Step 7

To prepare gravy, while turkey bakes, combine reserved giblet and neck and the broth in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes. Strain mixture through a colander into a bowl, discarding solids.

Step 8

Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour pan drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top).

Step 9

Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into broiler pan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Add broth mixture. Place broiler pan on stovetop over medium heat, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Combine milk and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk; add to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Step 10

Strain gravy through a sieve into a bowl. Discard solids. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

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Ratings & Reviews

appleb's Review

November 23, 2012

SpiderCooks's Review

November 21, 2012
I starting using this recipe 10 years ago. It's a favorite with my family. Tender juicy turkey meat with lot's of flavor and delicious gravy.

abfly17s's Review

November 19, 2012
I add a few cups of chicken broth to the bottom of the pan to keep the cola/maple glaze drippings from burning. This recipe makes the most delicious gravy (if the drippings don't burn).

Catwoman's Review

November 25, 2010
Fantastic!!! After reading review decided not to use the cola/maple mixture during cooking. Roasted in a turkey bag. Was perfect.

freeselk's Review

November 24, 2010
I sometimes wonder who is the idiot who only gives one star and hundreds of others give it a 5 star... well this time I'm the idiot who only gives one star & my family agrees... so sorry I made this for Thanksgiving Dinner...Everything about this recipe was horrible down to the nasty gravy...will never make again

ribbitthis's Review

April 09, 2010
Made this for Easter, and fell in love. Great flavor & very easy to do. I brined the bird inside turkey bags. I think this is our Easter turkey from now on. Also in love the the Parmesan Sage turkey (we use it at Thanksgiving)