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Honey-Bourbon Spatchcocked Turkey

Photo: Jennifer Causey
Active time 45 mins
Total (includes brining) time 27 hrs, 45 mins

Serves 16 (serving size: about 5 oz.)

The brine is all you need for this fantastic bird. While the bourbon seems generous, it will impart a very subtle flavor in the meat once all the water is added. If you want a more intense smoke flavor, add a handful of soaked applewood chips to the grill. For a deeply bronzed, almost mahogany look, brush the skin with a mixture of water and honey each time you rotate the bird.


  • 12 cups water, divided
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 (14-lb.) whole fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
  • Cooking spray

Nutrition Information

  • calories 131
  • fat 2.3 g
  • satfat 0.7 g
  • monofat 0.5 g
  • polyfat 0.7 g
  • protein 25 g
  • carbohydrate 1 g
  • fiber 0.0 g
  • cholesterol 83 mg
  • iron 2 mg
  • sodium 230 mg
  • calcium 17 mg
  • sugars 1 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 1 g

How to Make It

  1. Bring 4 cups water, bourbon, salt, honey, and bay leaves to a boil in a medium saucepan; cook 2 minutes or until salt dissolves, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Place brine and remaining 8 cups water in a brining bag.

  2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey; discard or reserve for another use. Place turkey, breast side down, on a cutting board. Using kitchen shears, cut along both sides of backbone; discard backbone. Turn turkey breast side up; press firmly against breastbone with the heel of your hand so that the bird is splayed open, butterfly style (you'll hear a crack when the breastbone breaks). Trim excess fat; add turkey to brine. Refrigerate 18 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

  3. Preheat one side of grill to medium (375°F).

  4. Remove turkey from brine; discard brine. Pat turkey dry.

  5. Coat grill grate with cooking spray. Place turkey, skin side up, on grate over unlit side of grill. Cover and grill 2 1/2 hours or until a thermometer inserted into thickest portion of thigh registers 160°F, rotating the turkey 90 degrees every 30 minutes. Place turkey on a cutting board. Let stand, covered with foil, 30 minutes (internal temperature will rise to 165°F). Remove skin before serving.