Kentucky’s Best Bourbon and Hickory Grilled Turkey

The smaller the turkey, the juicier it will be. Figure on buying 1⁄2 pound per person. You can substitute apple or maple for the hickory wood.

Serves: 20Hands-on: 30 minutesTotal: 13 hours 30 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 20


  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1⁄2 cup salt
  • 1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 turkey (10 lbs.)
  • 4 cups presoaked wood chips
  • 5 lbs. wood chunks


  • Mix the bourbon, maple syrup, salt, and cider vinegar together. Add the turkey and then cover with water. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
  • Drain the turkey and discard all but 1 quart of the marinade. Put the quart of marinade in a saucepan on the stove and simmer to reduce to 2 cups for use as a basting liquid.
  • Prepare grill with banked coals on one side, a water pan in the empty space, and presoaked chips for smoking.
  • Smoke the turkey over water pan for 3 hours, adding water as needed, with plenty of wood. After smoking, place in a 350°F oven, basting frequently, for an additional 2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 165°F at the thickest part of the bird.