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Maple Bourbon Brined Thanksgiving Turkey


Hosting Thanksgiving can be stressful. Feeding a houseful of family and friends, many of whom have been dreaming of this one meal for weeks, is enough to give even a seasoned cook anxiety. And when it comes to Thanksgiving, it's all about the Turkey. Sides are spectacular. Desserts are delicious. But, let's be honest, they're just backup singers to the star of the show: Tom Turkey. For a moist and flavorful Thanksgiving turkey that will get raves, try brining.

This recipe for Maple Bourbon Brined Turkey combines seasonal flavors and basic brining techniques for an unforgettable Thanksgiving feast. The natural sweetness of the maple syrup tempers the saltiness you find in most brines. Although the bourbon adds depth of flavor and, rest assured, the alcohol will cook out during cooking. To make brining easier, we used The Briner, which has a patented internal locking system to keep your turkey submerged in the solution. Although we used the FireCraft Pellet-Q450, you can adjust this recipe for any grill or oven.


Prep time
12 hours
Cooking time
3 hours, 30 minutes
Total time
15 hours, 30 minutes

Wood Pellet Flavor -Maple, Oak


20 lb
1 Turkey
quarts water
2 c
Brown Sugar
onion (peeled and quartered)
2 c
pure maple syrup
2 c
sea salt
cloves garlic (peeled and crushed)
Bay Leaves
bunches of fresh thyme sprigs
3 T
whole black peppercorns
strips orange rind
1 c


  1. Place water in a large stock pot over medium heat, and stir in brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, garlic, onion, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns, orange rind and bourbon. Bring to a boil, stirring until salt and brown sugar dissolve (about 6 minutes).

  2. Remove from heat and allow brine to cool to room temperature.
  3. Once cool, pour the brine solution into The Briner.
  4. Rinse the turkey, inside and out, under cold water, removing the giblets and neck.
  5. Add turkey to The Briner and let soak overnight (12-18 hours).
  6. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry.
  7. Load the FireCraft Pellet-Q450 with a 50/50 blend of maple and Jack Daniels pellets then preheat to 350°F (If using a gas or charcoal grill, set up for indirect cooking).
  8. Place the turkey on the grill and insert the meat probe into the thickest part of the thigh. Using the control board, program the meat probe to 165°F.
  9. Roast the turkey 15 minutes per pound. The control board will signal when the meat probe reads an internal temperature of 165°F then lower the heat to keep warm and prevent overcooking.
  10. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before carving.
  11. Serve and enjoy!

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