Orange Bourbon Black Tea Turkey


Prep Time: 1 hour  |  Cook Time: unknown


1 fresh or thawed frozen turkey

1 1/2 cups bourbon

Coarse kosher salt

1 cup brown sugar

6 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 tablespoons coriander seed (crushed)

12 peppercorns

6 bay leaves

1 lemon (juiced)

1 lime (juiced)

12 black tea bags

8 oranges

1 can (14.5 ounce) chicken broth

32 oz orange juice

1 stick softened butter

Extra virgin olive oil (optional)

1/2 cup white flour


Brine Instructions
1. Place 3 quarts of water in a large pot on medium heat. Add the bourbon, 2 cups salt, sugar, thyme sprigs, coriander, peppercorns and bay leaves. Mix well. Tie the tea bag strings in a knot near the labels and cut off the paper labels (this will make them easy to remove) and add to the pot. Cut the peels off 5 oranges in wide strips, juice the oranges, lemon and lime and add to the pot. Allow the brine to come to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
2. Remove the tea bags and place the brine mixture in a large food safe five gallon bucket, or line a bucket with a large plastic bag. If you use a bag, remove all the air and seal it with a tie. Allow the brine to cool to room temperature. To reduce the cooling time, add ice cubes to the mixture until it is room temperature.
3. Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey, rinse the outside and the cavity of the turkey and place it in the brine mixture. If the turkey does not have giblets in the cavity, check the neck area. Add the neck and giblets to the brine if you plan to serve them or use them in the gravy. Add enough water to the bucket to cover the turkey. If necessary, use a dinner plate on top of the turkey to keep it fully submerged. Cover the top of the bucket with a large kitchen plastic bag.
4. Refrigerate 12-72 hours. For extended brining, rotate the turkey 180 degrees every 24 hours.
5. The day prior to cooking, remove the turkey from the brine, rinse thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Place on a serving plate and refrigerate uncovered overnight. This will allow the skin to dry before cooking. If the skin is not dried it will be soft and rubbery.

Roasting Instructions
1. Place the turkey on a cutting board. Peel the remaining 3 oranges, quarter and insert them into the turkey cavity. Insert a roasting rack in the roasting pan and place the turkey on the rack. Tuck the wings under the bird. Rub the outside of the turkey with softened butter. Run your hand gently between the breast meat and the skin to separate them. This helps promote crispier skin.
2. Light the charcoal in one area. Wait 10 minutes, then place 3-4 wood chunks (optional) around the lit area. Insert the heat deflector with the plate in the bottom position. Insert the cooking grate. Adjust the draft door and top vent to one quarter open.
3. Place the turkey in the grill. Pour the chicken broth and orange juice in the bottom of the roasting pan. Allow the temperature to rise slowly to a target temperature of 325 degrees. It should take 30-45 minutes.
4. Baste the turkey each hour with softened butter or olive oil.
5. Allow the turkey breast to reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees, or cook on time using 15 minutes per pound. Pierce the breast when the time has elapsed to ensure that the juices are clear.
6. Remove the turkey from the grill, place it on a cutting board, lightly cover with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

Orange Gravy Instructions
1. Place the flour in a small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk thoroughly adding small amounts of water until the mixture is the consistency of pancake batter.
2. Pour the drippings in a sauce pan and heat on medium. Add small amounts of the flour mixture while the drippings are warm and stir into the drippings to thicken it. Salt and pepper to taste. Optional: remove the meat from the neck and finely chop with the giblets, and add to the gravy.