Maple Bourbon Spatchcock Turkey is here, and it’s just in time for Thanksgiving! You know what else is just in time for the holidays? A special release, limited edition, “single barrel” version of my Maple Bourbon seasoning! Maple Bourbon is one of the first seasonings I developed with Spiceology, and is now favored by all. You can find it on Spiceology’s website now, just click here. I used it on this turkey and loved the flavoring so much that I’m going to remake this exact recipe for my family’s Thanksgiving. Cheers to you and yours over the holiday!
Why You Should Brine Your Maple Bourbon Spatchcock Turkey
This recipe starts with a process known as brining. If you don’t know about brining, let me give you some more information.
Brining is very similar to marinting, except a brine’s foundation ingredients are salt and water (you can also add sugar). The purpose of a brine is to help the protein retain moisture. It does this by dissolving some muscle fibers of the meat, which results in a more tender and juicy meal. You can also use brines to help infuse flavor by adding your desired herbs or seasonings. For this recipe, I tossed in a couple bay leaves and cinnamon sticks. This means before my turkey even hit’s the grill it’s already had time to tenderize and take on flavor. How awesome is that?!
To start the brining process, fill a 5 gallon food grade bucket with water. Then I mix together all the brine ingredients and carefully set the turkey in. Place it in the fridge to brine overnight, it should remain there for 8-18 hours.
For another brining recipe, check out these Garlic Parmesan and Beer Wings.
First brining, now spatchcocking. I’ve done a couple spatchcock recipes, but it’s been a while so let’s talk about it.
Spatchcock is a cooking technique that involves removing the spine from a turkey (or chicken) so that the protein will lay flatter on the grill/smoker. For this turkey, I cut out the spine, flip the turkey back over and position its legs to lay flat. This will help our turkey cook evenly.
From here, I used one of my favorite turkey tricks: placing slices of butter under the turkey skin. When you have a protein that doesn’t carry a lot of initial flavor, we need to add it. We’ve already brined the turkey to start this process, but now I’m going to add some fat because more fat equals more flavor. To do this, carefully lift up the skin and disperse thin slices of butter throughout the turkey.
For more turkey recipes, check out my Leftover Chipotle Turkey Empanadas, Smoked Peppercorn Turkey Breast, Honey BBQ Spatchcock Turkey and Honey Fire Rotisserie Turkey Legs.
Next, we add our seasoning. I know I already talked about my awesome, limited edition Maple Bourbon seasoning so I’ll spare repeating myself; but just know it’s awesome. I covered the entire turkey with this stuff and have zero regrets. The sweet maple flavoring paired with caramel notes of bourbon was perfect for this turkey. Not to forget the sweet orange and cinnamon glaze we’re going to baste the turkey with. They’re a match made for eachother!
Smoking Maple Bourbon
Place the turkey on the grill after it’s been seasoned. Close the lid to the smoker and let it cook for 2.5-3 hours, until it reaches an internal temperature of 165F in the breasts and thighs. While that’s cooking, go to the charcoal chamber and mix together the bourbon glaze. When the turkey is about 15 minutes out from being cooked, brush it entirely with this glaze.
More on my Maple Bourbon seasoning with Spicy Maple Bourbon Candied Bacon and Maple Bourbon Smoked Salmon.
After the turkey has hit temp, pull it from the grill and let it rest for around 30 minutes. Then transition it to a cutting board or serving platter and serve it up! A beautiful, orange and golden brown turkey that’s extremely juicy and tender. As always, best enjoyed with friends and family. Cheers!
For more delicious recipes, check out my cookbook Food X Fire!
Needing more spice in your life? My spice line can help with that. Check them out here.
Maple Bourbon Spatchcock Turkey
- 1 Whole Turkey (14-16 lbs) thawed
- ½ cup Maple Bourbon Seasoning
- 2 Unsalted Butter sticks cut into pieces
- 2 Gallons Water
- 1 cup Salt
- 1 cup Sugar
- 2-3 Bay Leaves
- 2-3 Cinnamon Sticks
Maple Bourbon Glaze:
- 4 oz Bourbon
- 1 Navel Orange juiced
- 2.5 tbsp Maple Syrup
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- Before starting, make sure your turkey is fully thawed. Once thawed, add water, sugar and salt to a food safe bucket. Mix it thoroughly until the sugar and salt are fully dissolved. Once done, add the bay leaves and the cinnamon sticks to the brine along with the whole turkey. Making sure the turkey is fully submerged, cover the bucket and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours but ideally overnight.
- Next day, pull the turkey out of the brine and pat dry of any excess moisture. Discard the leftover brine. Start spatchcocking the turkey by using a sharp knife of kitchen shears. Remove the backbone of the bird carefully, then trim the skin and use these for stock later. Lay the spatchcock turkey flat and press firmly on the breast until the breast bone breaks and lays fully flat. Next, carefully separate the skin and breast and place 3-4 tabs of butter on each side. Do the same in the turkey thighs. Once the butter is placed, begin to season with my Maple Bourbon Seasoning or your favorite BBQ Seasoning. Seasoning thoroughly and then put in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
- Preheat your smoker to 275F for indirect cooking. Add wood chips or wood chunks for added smoke flavor if you desire.
- Add the turkey to the smoker and cook for about 2-3 hours until the breast and thighs read 165F internal. About 30 minutes before the turkey is done, begin making the glaze. Heat a medium high heat fire (around 375F) with a cast iron skillet. Carefully add bourbon to the skillet and let simmer for 2 minutes until reduced by half. Next, add the rest of the glaze ingredients and let simmer for 5-6 minutes until they have thickened. When the glaze is ready, begin to glaze the outside of the turkey and let it continue cooking until it is done.
- Once the turkey is done, pull it off and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. Slice, serve and enjoy!
What do you do with the sliced orange???
Does the cook time vary for different sized birds?
I’m trying this for thanksgiving so I’d like to make sure!
Yes it does depend on size. This was a 14-16lb turkey if I remember correctly.
What would you recommend for time increase per pound above 16lbs. I’m at just under 20 lbs
I would add at least 1-1.5 more hours!
Can it be done on an oven?
Just finished a 14 lb. turkey. Temperature was between 350-375 it was done in an hour & a half. Had it on a ceramic disc so the bottom would not burn. The Bourbon sauce was put on as per directions but by that time the skin was too hard so the sauce just ran down the bird on to the ceramic disc…made a nice flame. I took the remaining sauce & poured it on the turkey just before I took it off the disc…grreat show. My kids & grandkids lived it…beautiful flame.
Godspeed & have a grreat Thanksgiving…
Do you prefer the reverse flow smoker over the regular flow?
I prefer the regular but the reverse is excellent too!
This was the best Turkey I have had in a very long time. Perfection. Thank you for the inspiration and the recipe. I recommend the maple bourbon spice as well.