Maple Bourbon Spatchcock Turkey

 Maple Bourbon Turkey

When you have cooked as many turkeys as I have in my life you have to get creative and try new flavor profiles. This maple bourbon turkey utilizes a tasty, wet brine to impart serious moisture and amazing flavor into turkey while creating a gorgeous final product with beautiful color.  You can prepare this as a traditional turkey, but I prefer to spatchcock my turkeys. A spatchcock turkey cooks more evenly than a traditional whole turkey plus it presents beautifully and is easier to carve! We use our southwestern sweet heat rub, Texas Sugar, in this recipe but you can substitute your favorite seasoning.

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Binder\Basting liquid

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 C, grade A maple syrup


    Prepare the Brine
    Thoroughly mix entire contents of the package with 4 cups of water in a medium stock pot. Add the maple syrup and bourbon, stir and bring to a boil.

    Maple Bourbon Spatchcock Turkey

    Remove from the heat and add 8 - 12 cups of ice water to completely cool the liquid. 

    Place the turkey in a food safe container. Fill the container with the brine mixture making sure to completely submerge the turkey. Add water if necessary. Refrigerate overnight or an average of 45 - 60 mins per lb. I typically just brine over night.

    Maple Bourbon Spatchcock Turkey

    Spatchcock the Turkey
    This step can be done before or after the brine. Using a pair of poultry shears, cut along each side of the back bone of the turkey to remove it (I use the backbone to make gravy).

    Spatchcock Turkey

    Press the turkey flat. I show you how easy this process is in this video. You can optionally remove the keel bone if you like, but it is not necessary.

    Prepare your smoker
    Prepare smoker at a temperature of 275 degrees F. I recommend a medium smoking wood or pellet such as hickory or pecan. I used pecan from the trees in my backyard in this video.

    Mill Scale Offset smoker

    Prepare the Turkey
    Remove turkey from brine, rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

    Combine 1 stick of butter and 1/4 C maple syrup in a small pot to act as a binder for the seasoning and also for basting during the cook. Heat to combine. Allow to cool.

    Brush the binder all over the turkey. Preserve the remaining for basting during the cook.

    Maple Bourbon Spatchcock Turkey

    Season the outside of the turkey very evenly with Texas Sugar. Be sure to season underneath and in all the cracks and crevices. Allow to adhere for at least 15 minutes.

    Maple Bourbon Spatchcock Turkey

    Cook the Turkey
    Place the turkey in the smoker with the breast towards the fire. Be sure to pull the skin down so it cooks as pretty as possible. Remember, you eat with your eyes first and that is especially important on Thanksgiving.

    Rotate the turkey or cover any tips with foil during the cook if you feel parts are getting too dark. 

    Spatchcock Turkey

    Baste as often as you like during the cook, but at least one time after you pass 150 internal in the breast as I did in this video.

    Maple Bourbon Spatchcock Turkey

    Smoke the turkey until it reaches 160 in the deepest part of the breast. The turkey will continue to carryover cook a few more degrees to get to the USDA recommended 165. 

    Remove the turkey from the smoker. Allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes. Garnish with herbs and cranberries.

    Maple Bourbon Spatchcock Turkey

    Pour yourself your favorite bourbon and enjoy!

    Maple Bourbon Spatchcock Turkey


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