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Maple-Bourbon-Brined Turkey

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  • Prep 45 min
  • Total 13 hr 15 min
  • Servings 14
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This unforgettable bird is brined overnight in a maple, bourbon and orange solution, brushed with a maple and bourbon glaze, then roasted to golden brown perfection. One bite, and your holidays will never be the same.
Created Nov 9, 2016
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  • 16 cups (4 L) cold water
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) real maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) bourbon
  • 6 (2-inch/5 cm) strips orange peel
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 whole turkey, not prebasted (12 to 14 lb/6 to 7 kg), thawed if frozen, neck and giblets removed
  • 2 carrots, cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces
  • 1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 orange, cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) melted butter

  • 1/2 cup(125 mL) fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) real maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) bourbon


  • 1
    For brine, in 2-quart saucepan, heat 3 cups of the water, 3/4 cup salt, 3/4 cup maple syrup, 3/4 cup bourbon, the orange rind, thyme and bay leaves to simmering over medium heat. Cook and stir until salt is dissolved, about 6 minutes. Pour into large clean bucket or stockpot (noncorrosive), and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Add remaining 13 cups cold water.
  • 2
    Add turkey to brine mixture. If brine does not cover turkey, add more water. Cover and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours, turning once.
  • 3
    Heat oven to 325°F. Remove bird from brine, and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.
  • 4
    Place bird, breast side up, on roasting rack inside large rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan, and pat dry with paper towels.
  • 5
    Place carrots, onion and orange inside turkey’s cavity. Tuck wings underneath bird, and coat skin liberally with melted butter.
  • 6
    Roast turkey 3 hours to 3 hours 45 minutes.
  • 7
    Meanwhile, make glaze by combining orange juice, 1/2 cup maple syrup, the mustard and 1/2 teaspoon salt in 1-quart saucepan over medium heat, beating with whisk. Heat to simmering; cook 10 to 13 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced by about one-third. Remove from heat; stir in bourbon. Set aside.
  • 8
    In last 30 minutes of roasting, brush turkey with half of the glaze; roast about 15 minutes. Brush turkey with remaining glaze; roast about 15 minutes longer or until skin is deep mahogany, instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh reads 165°F, and drumsticks move easily when lifted or twisted. Let turkey rest, loosely covered with foil, 15 minutes before carving.

Expert Tips

  • Tip 1
    Real maple syrup is the only way to go for this recipe. For the most flavour, look for dark amber-coloured syrup.
  • Tip 2
    If your turkey is frozen, it’s important to remember to allow enough time for thawing, since turkey must be completely thawed before brining. To thaw this size of whole turkey, place turkey (in its original wrap) in pan in refrigerator 2 to 3 days.

Nutrition Information

740.2 Calories, 25.6g Total Fat, 91.7g Protein, 22.6g Total Carbs

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 14 servings
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbs
Dietary Fiber
% Daily Value*:
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
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