When you have cooked as many turkeys as I have in my life you have to get creative and try new flavor profiles. This maple bourbon turkey utilizes a tasty, wet brine to impart serious moisture and amazing flavor into turkey while creating a gorgeous final product with beautiful color. You can prepare this as a traditional turkey, but I prefer to spatchcock my turkeys. A spatchcock turkey cooks more evenly than a traditional whole turkey plus it presents beautifully and is easier to carve! We use our southwestern sweet heat rub, Texas Sugar, in this recipe but you can substitute your favorite seasoning.Instructional Video
- 1 12-15 lb turkey
- Meat Church Texas Sugar (sub Holy Voodoo Rub, Honey Hog, The Gospel or Holy Gospel)
- 1 gallon water
- 1 package Meat Church Bird Bath Poultry Brine
- 3/4 C, grade A maple syrup
- 3/4 C, Bourbon
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/4 C, grade A maple syrup
- Instant Read Thermometer
Prepare the Brine
Thoroughly mix entire contents of the package with 4 cups of water in a medium stock pot. Add the maple syrup and bourbon, stir and bring to a boil.
Remove from the heat and add 8 - 12 cups of ice water to completely cool the liquid.
Place the turkey in a food safe container. Fill the container with the brine mixture making sure to completely submerge the turkey. Add water if necessary. Refrigerate overnight or an average of 45 - 60 mins per lb. I typically just brine over night.
Spatchcock the Turkey
This step can be done before or after the brine. Using a pair of poultry shears, cut along each side of the back bone of the turkey to remove it (I use the backbone to make gravy).
Press the turkey flat. You can optionally remove the keel bone if you like, but it is not necessary.
Prepare your smoker
Prepare smoker at a temperature of 275 degrees F. I recommend a medium smoking wood or pellet such as hickory or pecan. I used pecan from the trees in my backyard.
Prepare the turkey
Remove turkey from brine, rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
Combine 1 stick of butter and 1/4 C maple syrup in a small pot to act as a binder for the seasoning and also for basting during the cook. Heat to combine. Allow to cool.
Brush the binder all over the turkey. Preserve the remaining for basting during the cook.
Season the outside of the turkey very evenly with Texas Sugar. Be sure to season underneath and in all the cracks and crevices. Allow to adhere for at least 15 minutes.
Cook the turkey
Place the turkey in the smoker with the breast towards the fire. Be sure to pull the skin down so it cooks as pretty as possible. Remember, you eat with your eyes first and that is especially important on Thanksgiving.
Rotate the turkey or cover any tips with foil during the cook if you feel parts are getting too dark.
Baste as often as you like during the cook, but at least one time after you pass 150 internal in the breast
Smoke the turkey until it reaches 160 in the deepest part of the breast. The turkey will continue to carryover cook a few more degrees to get to the USDA recommended 165.
Remove the turkey from the smoker. Allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes. Garnish with herbs and cranberries.
Pour yourself your favorite bourbon and enjoy!