Maple-Whiskey Turkey

Total Time:
32 hr
40 min
25 hr 30 min
5 hr 50 min

12 servings

  • Maple-Whiskey Brine:
  • 3 cups whiskey
  • Two 12.5-ounce bottles pure maple syrup (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons tricolor peppercorns
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped off
  • Peel of 3 large oranges, cut into large strips
  • Peel of 2 red apples
  • Peel of 2 green apples
  • Turkey:
  • One 15- to 20-pound turkey, thawed if frozen (not self-basting or enhanced)
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
Watch how to make this recipe.
  • Special equipment: a large brining bag, optional and a probe thermometer

  • For the maple-whiskey brine: Combine the whiskey, maple syrup, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic, rosemary, orange peel, apple peel and 8 cups (2 quarts) water in a large pot. Bring to a boil uncovered, stirring to dissolve the salt, then turn off the heat and cover. Allow to cool completely, then place in the fridge to chill.

  • For the turkey: Remove the turkey from its packaging and remove the bags inside that hold the neck and giblets. Rinse the neck and giblets and put them in a plastic bag in the fridge; you'll need them for the Maple-Whiskey Gravy. Rinse the turkey thoroughly with cold water. Place the turkey in a large brining bag or pot. Pour in the maple-whiskey brine, cover with cold water and place in the fridge for 16 to 24 hours so the brine can work its magic.

  • When ready for roasting, preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

  • Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse it thoroughly again inside and out. Soak the turkey in cold water for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse again and pat dry. Tuck the wings underneath the turkey, then tie the legs together with kitchen string. Place the turkey breast-side up on a rack in a large, shallow roasting pan. Cover the pan with heavy-duty foil so that it's well sealed. Roast for about 10 minutes per pound (about 2 1/2 hours for a 15-pound turkey and about 3 hours 20 minutes for a 20-pound turkey).

  • Remove the turkey from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Remove the foil and set aside. (Put stuffing in the bird if you wish at this point.) Rub the butter all over the skin of the turkey, getting in the crevices. Insert a probe thermometer into the thigh, near the hip joint. Place the turkey, uncovered, back in the oven. Continue roasting, basting or brushing with the juices in the pan every 30 minutes, until the thermometer registers 165 degrees F and the juices are no longer pink. This could take another 2 to 2 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the bird.

  • Remove the turkey from the oven and cover lightly with foil until you are ready to carve it. Pour the pan drippings into a fat separator and set aside for the Whiskey-Maple Gravy.

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    This recipe is featured in:

    Top Turkeys for Thanksgiving