Real Men Cook Turkey

Gobblehead2Like most dads, I cook. Daily. With three kids it comes with the job description.

But I don’t get super-excited about cooking all that often. Schedules are chaotic. Time is scarce. So cooking never makes it to the top of my “favorite things” list.

Trust me. I wish it did.

That’s why I look forward to Thanksgiving. It gets me reconnected with my cooking mojo. And it reminds me how fun it is to prepare great meals for the family. Plus, the extra bonus is that turkey leftovers let you whip up some fun, hearty and delicious meals long after that last Thanksgiving serving platter goes back in the cupboard.

Last year, I experimented with a new recipe – Bourbon and Cola Marinated Turkey. And while I’m not a bourbon drinker myself, this was a turkey to remember! The bourbon cooks down during the cooking process, so it doesn’t taste like bourbon – it just adds a lot of flavor! It’s slightly sweet but it has a just-right kick from the red pepper flakes. Try it out!

Bourbon Cola Cropped

Bourbon and Cola Marinated Turkey

Prep Time: 10 minutes (I’m serious!)

Total Time: 3+ Hours

Makes: 12 servings


-¾ cup Coca Cola

-½ cup bourbon

-1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

-1/3 cup soy sauce

-¼ cup chopped green onions

-1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

-½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

-12-14 pound Butterball® Fresh or Frozen Whole Turkey, thawed if frozen


-Combine all ingredients except turkey in non-reactive container large enough to hold turkey. Remove turkey from packaging; drain. Remove neck and giblets; refrigerate for another use or discard. Place turkey in marinade. Cover container. Refrigerate 6 to 8 hours, turning turkey over occasionally.

-Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove turkey from marinade; drain; pat dry. Discard marinade. Place turkey on a flat rack in a shallow roasting pan, 2 to 2-1/2-inches deep. Tuck wings back to hold neck skin in place and stabilize the turkey in the pan and when carving. Brush lightly with vegetable oil or spray with cooking spray to prevent skin from drying. Insert oven-safe thermometer deep into the lower thigh muscle but not touching the bone.

-Bake 3 to 3-1/2 hours. When the turkey is about 2/3 done, cover the breast and top of thighs lightly with aluminum foil to prevent overcooking. Check for doneness about 30 minutes before end of recommended cooking time. Turkey is done when thigh reaches 180°F and juices run clear.

-Remove the turkey from the roasting pan. Let rest 15 minutes to allow juices to set before carving.

Now let’s talk leftovers…

Here’s the key with leftovers: Take some time before Thanksgiving to figure out some great recipes with your leftovers! I promise, it will make you a lot more excited to deal with clean up after all the holiday fun! And another tip: check out the Butterball Pinterest Page for some great ideas for leftovers!

Here’s a couple that are on my list this year:


Turkey, Mushroom & Potato Soup. This is actually one of my son’s favorites. It has ingredients he likes and it keeps for days in the refrigerator!

Turkey and Swiss Panini.  I haven’t made this yet but just reading the ingredients makes me hungry.  As a true Turketarian, this one is right up my alley. Check out Butterball’s Turketarian app to find out what kind of Turketarian you are.

OK, Pops (and Moms!) go make it a fun Thanksgiving holiday! Try out a new recipe this year. I’d love to hear some of your favorite leftovers! Oh, and before I forget: Did you know that Butterball turkeys are gluten-free? I’ve been trying to move over to a gluten-free diet, myself. So that new bit of information was magic to my ears!


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