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Backyard Blogging.

Slow Smoked Maple Bourbon Brined Turkey

Crisp, toasted brown skin with moist and tender turkey inside – the Thanksgiving meat of your dreams is just a few steps out back on your Traeger. Fire it up and let your guests ooh and ahh over your Slow Smoked Maple Bourbon Brined Turkey.


1 qty. (10-12 lb.) Turkey, Thawed if Frozen
5 qt. Hot Water
1-1/2 cups or 3/4 cup table salt Kosher Salt
3/4 cup Bourbon
1 cup Pure Maple Syrup
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 Onion, Peeled and Quartered Through the Root End
3-4 strips Orange Peel
3 leaves Bay Leaves, Broken into Pieces
2 Tbsp. Black Peppercorns
1 Tbsp. Whole Cloves
3 qt. Ice
1 cup Butter, Melted
as needed Traeger Pork & Poultry Rub
Sprigs of Fresh Sage and Thyme, for garnish
Orange Wedges, Lady Apples, or Kumquats for serving
Turkey Gravy for serving


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, orange peel, 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 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 half of the mixture on the bird and sprinkle lightly with Traeger Pork & Poultry Shake or salt and black pepper. Reserve the rest of the mixture for later.

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 350F 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 165F. (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.

Recipe and photo from Traeger.