Bourbon Smoked Citrus Pepper Brined & Deep Fried Turkey

This Bourbon Smoked Citrus Pepper and Bourbon Smoked Pepper Brined, Deep-Fried Turkey has more flavor than any other Turkey that we’ve ever tried! The deep frying process is so quick that it makes us want to make a whole turkey more times a year than one. If you try this recipe, let us know if you love it too.


6 quarts hot water
5 pounds ice
1 pound kosher salt
1 pound Bourbon Smoked Sugar
¼ cup Bourbon Smoked Citrus Pepper
4 bay leaves
1 large bunch fresh thyme
2 large sprigs rosemary
1 13-14-pound turkey
4 gallons peanut or sunflower oil

Tools and Equipment:

Turkey Frying Rig – Frying pot, burner, and propane tank
Container that will hold the brine and turkey fully submerged (a 5-gallon drink cooler or stockpot)

For the Bourbon Smoked Citrus Pepper Brine:

• In a large pot, place hot water, kosher salt, Bourbon Smoked Citrus Pepper, herbs and Bourbon Smoked Sugar.
• Stir until the salt and sugar dissolve completely.
• Add the ice and stir until the mixture is cool.
• Gently lower the turkey into the container.
• If necessary, weigh down the turkey to ensure that the turkey is fully immersed in the brine.
• If using a cooler, cover and set in a cool, dry place –
If using a stockpot, refrigerate –
For 8 to 16 hours.

Deep Frying Method:

• Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse and dry thoroughly inside and out.

• Allow the turkey to sit at room temperature for at least 30-minutes prior to cooking.

• On a safe, flat-level surface, outdoors – Place the peanut or sunflower oil into a 28-30-quart pot and set over high heat on an outside propane burner.
• Bring the oil temperature to 275-degrees F. Once the temperature has reached 275, slowly lower the turkey into the oil and bring the temperature up to 350-degrees F.
• Once the temperature has reached 350-degrees F, lower the heat and maintain a temperature of 350-degrees F.
• After 35 minutes, using a probe thermometer, check the turkey’s temperature.
• Once the breast reaches 155-degrees F, gently remove the turkey from the oil.
• Allow the turkey to rest for a minimum of 30-minutes before carving.
• The turkey will reach an internal temperature of 165-degrees F due to carry-over cooking.

  • To determine the correct amount of oil, place the turkey into the pot that you will be frying it in, add water just until it barely covers the top of the turkey and is at least 4 to 5 inches below the top of the pot. This will be the amount of oil you use for frying the turkey.

Recipe by Chef Michael Hargrove – Bourbon Barrel Foods Chef in Residence and Founder of River City Supper Club.