| November 16, 2012

Want to give your guests something big to talk about this Thanksgiving? Try this Game Changing Turkey recipe from Sunny Anderson, host of Food Network's "Home Made in America."

Sunny recommends starting with a brine, which "is similar to a marinade," then rubbing the turkey with olive oil and a whole slew of spices. She then roasts the turkey at 350 degrees F, basting every 20-30 minutes. Once golden brown, she removes the turkey from the oven and covers it with a loose aluminum foil tent to capture all the moisture.

She then tops it off with her Quick Pan Gravy, which starts with pan drippings, softened garlic cloves and turkey juices. Mix that with some white wine, flour and butter, and enjoy a gravy that, according to Sunny, is good enough to drink.

Try out her game-changing recipe this year, and be sure to make enough for seconds.

Want more? Check out Sunny Anderson's quick Turkey Tips here:

Daddy's Game Changing Turkey With Quick Pan Gravy

Cooking Method: 
Cook Time: 
2 hours or more, depending on the size of the turkey
1 turkey


  • BRINE: 6 quarts water, 1 bunch sage, 1 lemon (halved), 1/4 cup salt, 1/2 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • RUB: 1 tbsp dried marjoram, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp white pepper, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 bunch thyme, 1/2 bunch sage, 1 rosemary stalk, 6 cloves garlic, 1 red onion (quartered), 1 cup turkey broth
  • PAN GRAVY: Pan drippings, 1 cup white wine, 4 tbsp all-purpose flour, 4 tbsp butter (softened), 3 cups turkey broth, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. For the brine: In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the water, sage, thyme, lemon, salt and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the salt is dissolved and the water is fragrant. Turn off the heat and let the brine cool. Put the turkey in a large plastic roasting bag, or a bowl large enough to fit it with space for the brine. Pour in the brining liquid and seal or cover. If there is not enough room for all of the liquid in the brine, be sure to at least include the herbs, lemon and peppercorns. Refrigerate the turkey for up to 3 days. When ready to cook, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and discard all of brining liquid and solids. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the marjoram, sage, peppers and salt to make the rub. Rub on all sides of the turkey, and drizzle with oil. Stuff the thyme, sage, and rosemary into the cavity, along with 4 of the garlic cloves and 1 quarter of the red onion. Allow to sit on the countertop for about 2 hours to come to room temperature.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  4. Put the remaining 2 garlic cloves, red onion quarters and broth in the bottom of a roasting pan. Put the turkey on a rack in the roasting pan. Tuck the wing tips under and tie the legs together with butcher's twine.
  5. Put the turkey in the oven and lower the heat to 350 F. Roast, basting every 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted between the thigh and the body registers 160 F, about 2 to 3 hours. (Also, during the cooking process, add more broth to the bottom of the pan so the drippings do not burn.) Remove the turkey from the oven once it reaches the correct temperature and allow it to rest under loosely tented aluminum foil for about 10 minutes. Transfer the turkey from the pan to a cutting board. Arrange the carved turkey on a serving platter and serve with Quick Pan Gravy.
  6. For the gravy: Put the roasting pan on the stove top. Remove any large solids, like onions or stalks of rosemary, leaving only the pan drippings, softened garlic cloves and juices. Turn the burner to medium-high heat and add the wine. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up all bits from the bottom of the roasting pan. In a small bowl, mix together the flour and butter. Add it to the pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, while stirring. Cook for about 1 minute, then whisk in the turkey broth and stir until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and pour it into a serving bowl.