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
Est. added sugars 1g
How to Make It
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.
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.
Preheat one side of grill to medium (375°F).
Remove turkey from brine; discard brine. Pat turkey dry.
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.
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