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Maple Bourbon Turkey

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Recipes posted a year ago:

This recipe was one I put together for our Christmas get-together with my parents and some family friends around the holidays.  Unfortunately, it’s taken me longer than I planned to get it written up for the site…you’ll have to forgive me for that.  Nevertheless, the turkey was a hit (along with everything else that night), and I think you’ll enjoy it as well.

 Maple Bourbon Turkey_01Gather Up:

  • one large turkey, about 14~20 lbs, fully thawed
  • 3/8 cup (3/4 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp grade B maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Maple Bourbon Turkey_02Prepare the grill for low-temperature smoking (about 185 degrees on my pellet grill).  Get the skin loosened up on the bird using your hand or the handle of a wooden spatula.  Work it loose along the entire breast and thighs, then flip the bird over and try to get some of the skin loosened up along the back as well.

Maple Bourbon Turkey_03Melt the butter over low heat, then add in the maple syrup, bourbon, and salt and pepper.  Let cool a little, then transfer into a plastic bag.  Clip the corner on the bag (just about 1/8″ in size) and then work the bag under the loosened skin of the bird and squeeze to coat the meat underneath with maple bourbon mixture.  Your hands will get very messy doing this – I’m just warning you…

Maple Bourbon Turkey_04Place the bird, breast down, in a foil pan (or a roasting pan covered with foil to reduce cleanup efforts later).  Close the lid on the grill and let the bird smoke for 2-1/2 hours.  If you are using standard charcoal, you’ll want to check and feed more wood chips occasionally to keep the temperature even and the smoke consistent.

Maple Bourbon Turkey_05After smoking, turn the bird over so that it is breast-side up (it won’t be too hot to touch yet).  Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast – almost touching the bone.  Increase the fuel on the grill to reach and maintain an indirect temperature of around 325 degrees.  Cook this way for about 12 minutes per pound, until the thermometer registers 160 degrees.  Remove from the grill and tent with foil for another 10 minutes while you get the rest of the side dishes out and ready.

Maple Bourbon Turkey_06Carve up the bird and serve while it is still warm.  If you like, you can take the remaining 1/4 stick of butter and melt it with some more maple and bourbon, then simmer while the turkey is “resting” before carving to make a simple sauce to drizzle over it.

Maple Bourbon Turkey
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Poultry
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • one large turkey, about 14~20 lbs, fully thawed
  • ⅜ cup (3/4 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp grade B maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
Instructions
  1. Prepare the grill for low-temperature smoking (about 185 degrees indirect)
  2. Get the skin loosened up on the bird using your hand or the handle of a wooden spatula. Work it loose along the entire breast and thighs, then flip the bird over and try to get some of the skin loosened up along the back as well.
  3. Melt the butter over low heat, then add in the maple syrup, bourbon, and salt and pepper.
  4. Let cool a little, then transfer into a plastic bag.
  5. Clip the corner on the bag (just about ⅛″ in size) and then work the bag under the loosened skin of the bird and squeeze to coat the meat underneath with maple bourbon mixture.
  6. Place the bird, breast down, in a foil pan (or a roasting pan covered with foil to reduce cleanup efforts later). Close the lid on the grill and let the bird smoke for 2-1/2 hours feeding fuel and smoking chips as needed to maintain smoke and temperature.
  7. After smoking, turn the bird over so that it is breast-side up. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast – almost touching the bone.
  8. Increase the fuel on the grill to reach and maintain an indirect temperature of around 325 degrees.
  9. Cook this way for about 12 minutes per pound, until the thermometer registers 160 degrees.
  10. Remove from the grill and tent with foil for another 10 minutes while you get the rest of the side dishes out and ready.
  11. Carve up the bird and serve while it is still warm.