Whiskey Smoked Turkey

Steven cooks an AMAZING turkey on a Memphis Wood Fire pellet grill.


  • 1x 12-14 pound turkey
  • Brine
  • 4 Bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion (quartered)
  • 4 cloves
  • 1.5 cups salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 quarts hot water plus 6 quarts cold water (2 gallons total)
  • 1 cup of your favorite whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorn
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter (melted)
  • Turkey Jus
  • Up to 1/2 cup smoked turkey drippings
  • 2.5 to 3 cups turkey or chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons Madeira or Creamy Sherry (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Hellfire Cranberry Salsa
  • 1 bag (12oz) cranberries
  • 1/3 cup toasted pecans
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 scallions, both white and green parts, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped (for hotter salsa, leave the seeds in)
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Thaw the turkey if frozen. Remove the neck and giblets and set aside for another use. (Be sure to empty both the front and main cavities). Rinse the turkey with cold running water inside and out. Fold the wing tips under the body.
  2. Make the Brine: Pin the bay leaves to the onion quarters with cloves. Place the salt and maple syrup in a very large stockpot or other large food-safe container. Add the hot water and whisk until the salt is dissolved. Whisk in the cold water, whiskey, and peppercorns. Let the brine cool completely. Add the turkey, leg end up, and the onion quarters. Jiggle the turkey as needed so the brine flows into the cavity and the whole bird is submerged. Cover with plastic wrap and brine the turkey in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Invert the turkey half way through so it brines evenly.
  3. The next day, preheat your Memphis Grill to 250 degrees.
  4. Smoke the Turkey until the skin is browned and the internal temperature in the thigh reaches 145 degrees. This should take 4 to 5 hours. After 2 hours, start basting the turkey all over with melted butter and baste again every hour.
  5. Baste the bird with melted butter and continue roasting until the skin is browned and crisp and the internal temperature in the thigh reaches 170 degrees.
  6. Transfer the turkey to a platter and drape a sheet of foil over it. Don’t bunch the foil around the bird or the steam will make the skin soggy. Let rest for 20 minutes, then carve.
  7. Turkey Jus
  8. Strain the turkey dripping into a large measuring cup. Depending on how many drippings you have and how salty they are, you’ll use up to 1/2 cup. Add enough smoked turkey or chicken stock to make 3 cups.
  9. Bring the drippings and stock to a boil in a large saucepan. For a slightly thicken jus, dissolve the cornstarch in 1 tablespoon Madeira and whisk the mixture into the boiling stock. For a non-thick jus, add the Madeira and boil for 2 minutes. Whisk in salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Hellfire Cranberry Salsa
  11. Spread the cranberries out on a rimmed baking sheet and pick through, removing any stems.
  12. Place the pecans and brown sugar in a food processor and coarsely chop. Add the cranberries, scallions, garlic, jalapenos, and cilantro to the food processor and pulse to chop the cranberries.
  13. Add the lime juice and olive oil. Process just to mix. Taste for seasoning, adding more brown sugar and/or lime juice as necessary and season with salt and pepper to taste. The salsa can be refrigerated, covered, but tastes best served within 3 hours of being made. If refrigerated, bring to room temperature before serving.