Thursday, December 01, 2011

The FBB's Roasted Bourbon Turkey

Bourbon Roast Turkey from "The Beekman ~1802~ Heirloom Cookbook", page 146
Beekman Boys Turkey
How good could it really be??
How 'bout best ever!

One week ago on Thanksgiving Day we had not one, not two, not three but four Thanksgiving turkeys. While the two smoked turkeys were wonderful (a contest between me (mine's here) and our friend Tony (contest ended in a solid tie)) and the deep fried one done to perfection this year (unlike the nuked turkey year), the turkey that was oven-roasted this Thanksgiving rendered all of us was that good!

I happen to love The Fabulous Beekman Boys. I was originally told about their TV show on PlanetGreen by friend Ellen, who raved about them. It took me just two shows to totally agree with her! The boys just released their first cookbook (sold out already) and in it is a recipe for a roast turkey that requires cups of bourbon. That piqued my interest. Quite a bit. Anything involving bourbon? Count me in! Not only that, the recipe also calls for maple syrup, molasses, citrus and Worcestershire sauce. Those are a few more of my favorite things...just how good was this bird going to be? I can tell you now - in a word - perfection!

We had a hard time carving all four of the birds as there were sticky picky fingers darting in and out of the carving stations the entire time! (Lucky no one lost a digit.) And at the end of the night, there was one small bag of turkey leftovers (didn't think there was any at all, but the bag was hidden under the lettuce in the crisper drawer. A planned hiding, perhaps??) and not one morsel of it was the Beekman Boys Turkey. The entire 20 lb. bird was consumed. Dang it!

Of course the recipe is in their cookbook (which you really should treat yourself to), but if you're not so inclined, below is a copy of the recipe and a link to the original on their website:

Bourbon Roast 14 lb. Turkey
Serves 10 to 12


1 turkey (about 14 pounds), rinsed and patted dry, neck and giblets removed, liver discarded
1/4 cup coarse salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
1 juice orange
1 lime
1 small onion, halved
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3/4 cup maple syrup (preferably grade B)
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup bourbon
1 cup canned chicken broth
1/3 cup all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Tuck the wing tips under the turkey by bending them back and pushing them under the wings. In a small bowl, combine the salt, sugar, and chile powder. Carefully run your fingers under the breast and thigh skin of the turkey to loosen and then season with about one-third of the salt mixture. Rub the remaining mixture in the cavity of the turkey and all over the skin. With a fork, pierce the orange and lime all over. Place them in the cavity along with the onion, bay leaves, and garlic cloves. Truss the turkey.
In a small skillet, combine the maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes for the flavors to concentrate.
Place the turkey on a rack and the turkey neck and giblets in a heavy roasting pan with a lid. In a small bowl combine the bourbon and chicken broth and carefully pour the mixture into the pan (do not splash the oven or outside of the pan with the mixture). Pour all but 1/3 cup of the maple syrup mixture over the turkey breast. Cover the pan with the lid and roast the turkey, without uncovering, for 1 hour 30 minutes. [Tent with foil if the bird begins to get really toasty brown - mine did.]
Uncover the pan and brush the turkey with the reserved maple syrup mixture. Roast for 30 minutes, uncovered, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh, without touching bone, registers 165°F.
Lift the turkey from the pan and transfer to a platter or cutting board. Tent with foil and let stand for 30 minutes. Discard the neck and giblets.
Pour the juices from the roasting pan into a gravy separator or a large measuring cup and remove the fat, reserving 3 tablespoons. If there isn’t enough turkey fat, add butter to make up the difference. If you don’t have 4 cups of pan juices, add water to make up the difference.
Place the turkey fat in a large saucepan and heat over low heat. Gradually whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour has browned, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the 4 cups of pan juices and cook, whisking constantly, until the gravy is lightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Slice the turkey and serve with the gravy and your other sides.


Below are the adjusted amounts for our 20 lb. bird:

Bourbon Roast 20 lb. Turkey
Serves 16-18


1 turkey, about 20 lbs., rinsed and patted dry (neck and giblets removed; liver tossed)
1/3 cups coarse salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 large orange (be sure to remove the sticker - as you can see, above, I forgot)
1 lime (2 if they're small)
1 medium onion, halved
1 cup pure maple syrup (preferably grade B)
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
3 cups bourbon
spray oil for oiling foil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour


Remain as above. Use a meat thermometer if you are unsure of doneness.


  1. I'm not going to wait until I do another turkey. I'm going to reduce the recipe and try this for our next roasted chicken. It sounds fantastic.

  2. Now that was one purdy turkey! Glad you like the Beakman Boys. They are fabulous!

  3. That has me salivating! Looks delicious times ten!

  4. Planning for next year already. Wow.


Thank you for taking the time to leave a thought. It's appreciated! xoabb