Maple Bourbon Turkey

This started out from a recipe from the Beekman Boys. As usual, there were unexpected (maybe by now they are to be expected?) deviations from the recipe. (The original recipe is available here.)


1 14-16 pound organic free range turkey
1/4 cup  salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons chile powder
1 orange
1 lime
1 small yellow onion, halved
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3/4 cup good quality maple syrup
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups Jim Beam Black double aged bourbon

How I Made It:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rinse and pat dry the turkey, removing the bag of giblets and the neck.  Place these (sans bag) in the bottom of the roasting pan.  Place the turkey, breast side up, in the rack in the roasting pan.

Combine the salt, sugar, and chili powder. Rub the seasoning all over the turkey, making sure to evenly spice the entire bird.

Quarter the orange, lime, and onion. Stuff these into the turkey, then follow with the garlic cloves and the bay leaves.


In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, combine the molasses, maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and 1 cup of bourbon. Heat over medium heat and stir continuously until blended and smooth.  (This is where I left the Beekman Boys behind — my recipe calls for bourbon in the basting sauce as well as the pan.)

With a silicone brush, thoroughly cover the turkey with the maple bourbon sauce. Make sure to get a few tablespoons into the cavity as well.  You should use at least half of the sauce, but make sure you have enough reserved for basting as it roasts.

Pour 1 cup of bourbon into the bottom of the roasting pan (not over the bird). Cover the wing tips with foil and  tie the drumsticks with kitchen twine.  Finally, tent the entire turkey with non-stick foil.

Roast covered for 90 minutes. Uncover, baste well with maple bourbon sauce, and continue roasting for 30 minutes.

Using a meat thermometer in the thigh, check the temperature.  If the turkey has reached 150 degrees or so, baste again and return uncovered to the oven. (If it hasn’t, keep roasting covered and check every 15 minutes until it reaches 150 degrees).

Roast the turkey uncovered for another 30 minutes, basting as needed (I’m a frequent baster because I like a moist turkey).  After 30 minutes, check to ensure that the turkey has reached 165 degrees. If it has, remove from the oven.

Let rest covered for 15 minutes before carving.

How It Turned Out:

Wonderful! Moist, flavorful, and if you have folks who like the  turkey skin — this will be their favorite turkey ever.



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