Maple & Bourbon Brined Turkey

Maple & Bourbon Brined Turkey

Your Traeger will produce one of the moistest, tastiest turkeys you’ve ever eaten with show-stopping crisp, brown skin. Use pecan, hickory, or apple pellets for this recipe.

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  • 1 10- to 12-pound turkey, thawed if frozen
  • 5 quarts hot water
  • 1-1/2 cups kosher salt (if using table salt, cut the amount down to 3/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered through the root end
  • 3 to 4 strips of orange peel
  • 3 bay leaves, broken into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 3 quarts ice
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • Traeger Pork/Poultry Shake, or salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Sprigs of fresh sage and thyme for garnish
  • Orange wedges, lady apples, or kumquats for garnish
  • Prepared turkey gravy for serving
  • You’ll also need: Butcher’s twine (sometimes called kitchen twine)


In a large stockpot or container combine the hot water, kosher salt, bourbon, 3/4 cup of the maple syrup, brown sugar, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, and cloves and stir until well mixed. Add the ice.

Rinse the turkey, inside and out, under cold running water. Remove giblets and discard or save for another use. (Some turkeys come with a gravy packet as well; remove it before roasting the bird.) Add the turkey to the brine and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours, or overnight. Weight with a a bag of ice to keep the bird submerged. Drain and pat dry with paper towels; discard the brine. Fold the wingtips behind the back and tie the legs together with butcher’s twine. Combine the melted butter and the remaining 1/4 cup of maple syrup. Brush on the bird and sprinkle lightly with Pork/Poultry Shake or salt and black pepper.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Roast the turkey for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh is 165 degrees F. (Use an instant-read meat thermometer.) Brush with the remaining butter/maple syrup mixture the last 30 minutes of cooking. Let the turkey rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. Garnish, if desired, with fresh herbs and/or kumquats.

Note: Do not use a kosher turkey or a self-basting turkey for this recipe as they have already been enhanced with a salt-solution.