Thanksgiving dinner is definitely a labor of love for me every year. I love the idea of family and friends coming together to give thanks, share a special meal, reminisce, and create new memories. I tried a number of Grilled Turkey recipes until I settled in on this one many years ago. Or I should say my family might have strongly encouraged me to stick with this one after they tasted how moist and flavorful the turkey came out.
I know the recipe can seem a little daunting but it really is pretty straightforward. Brining the turkey the day before is the secret sauce in keeping the turkey so moist. I make sure it has at least 24 hours in its “turkey spa” to lock in the flavors and moisture.
The Maple Bourbon Glaze (my own mashup) gives the skin a rich caramel color and sweet and salty flavor. – Patty
Thanksgiving dinner is definitely a labor of love for me every year. I know the recipe can seem a little daunting but it really is pretty straightforward. Brining the turkey the day before is the secret sauce in keeping the turkey so moist. I make sure it has at least 24 hours in its “turkey spa” to lock in the flavors and moisture. The Maple Bourbon Glaze (my own mashup) gives the skin a rich caramel color and sweet and salty flavor.
- 1 16-18lb Turkey
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
- 3 Tbsp black peppercorns
- 5 whole allspice berries, crushed
- 4 juniper berries, smashed
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 bunch thyme
- 9 bay leaves
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
- 4 onions cut into thick wedges
- 1 lb slab bacon skin removed and meat sliced 1/3 inch thick plus 3 extra slices of bacon
- 8 12oz bottles Guinness stout
- 1 1/2 cups turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- Fresh sage
- 3 Tbsp Tamari
- 1/4 cup Maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp Bourbon
- 2 Tbsp Butter, softened
- 1 Tbsp Bacon, crumbled
- 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
- In a very large pot, combine the mustard seeds, peppercorns, juniper berries, allspice, and bay leaves and toast over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add the brown sugar and salt and remove from the heat.
- Add 5 cups of water and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved; let cool completely.
- Place large plastic garbage bags (2) in a cooler and add the brine mixture. Add 3 of the onions, garlic, slab of bacon, Guinness, and 16 cups of cold water to the bags. Add the turkey to the brine, breast side down, and tie bag tightly. Place a large bag of ice on top of the tied plastic bags, close the lid on the cooler, and let brine for 24 hours.
Grilling the Turkey:
- Remove the onions from the brine and scatter them in a drip pan and add 1 cup of water. Place the drip pan center of grill under where Turkey will go.
- Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse off and pat dry.
- Rub butter over the outside of the turkey and lightly season with poultry seasoning. Lightly salt the inside cavity of the turkey and add 1 quartered onion and a few sage sprigs in the cavity.
- Remove the bacon strips from the brine and (using toothpicks) secure the bacon slices over the breast.
- Tuck wings under back and tie legs together.
- Indirect Grill Instructions: Place pan to catch drippings in the middle at bottom of the grill with a little water. Place 25 charcoal briquets on each side of the grill pan. Add 8 briquets per side every hour. Place wet wood chips on briquets every hour.
- Place turkey breast side up on center of grill.
- Keep lid (top vents opened, bottom partially closed) on turkey the entire time except when basting.
- An hour before you plan to remove the turkey from the grill take off the bacon and start basting the turkey with the Maple Bourbon Glaze.
- Monitor temperature for doneness: 180°F in thigh, 165°F in breast (about 3hrs of grilling time for a 16-18lb turkey).
Maple Bourbon Glaze:
- Mix all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture bubbles. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Baste the turkey every 15 minutes with the Maple Bourbon Glaze during the last hour of grilling.