Bourbon-Brined Turkey Breast and Legs

By ohioeggs  ,

November 24, 2015

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Only feeding a few? No need to make a whole turkey! A Bourbon-Brined Turkey Breast and Legs is perfect for feeding a small group.



1 gallon cold water

1 cup bourbon

1 cup coarse salt

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 turkey breast

2 turkey legs or thighs

Salt and pepper

1 apple – Cut into half -quarter wedges

1 onion – Cut into half-quarter wedges

1 ribs celery, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 carrot, cut into 2-inch pieces

½ cup turkey or chicken stock/broth

4 ounces butter

1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Bourbon Glaze

1 ½ cup good quality bourbon

3 cloves garlic

¾ cup honey

¾ cup dark brown sugar

2 Tablespoons Worchester Sauce

3 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 ½ teaspoon chili powder


Combine the first five ingredients in bowl. Stir to dissolve salt and sugar. Add the breast to one large resealable bag with ½ of the Bourbon brine. Repeat with the thighs or legs in a second resealable bag with the brine. Refrigerate for 18 – 24 hours.

Remove turkey from the brine and dry well with paper towels.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Rub the turkey with salt and pepper, making sure the underside of the breast is seasoned as well. In a roasting pan, place an even layer of the apples and vegetables. Place the turkey breast on the vegetable mix with the meaty side up. Place the legs/thighs on the vegetable mixture. Add the broth/stock to the pan. Tent with foil and place in the preheated oven.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the sage and thyme. Every 20 minutes, baste the turkey with the herb butter mixture. Determine the approximate cooking time based on the weight of the breast, allowing approximately 15-20-minutes per pound of breast. Remove foil tent approximately 2/3 way through the cooking process. Use an instant-read thermometer to determine when the turkey is done. Insert the thermometer into the thickest portion of the meat, but do not poke into a bone. The temperature should reach a minimum of 165°F. The turkey should be golden brown.

Glaze with the Bourbon glaze and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes uncovered. Allow to rest 15-20 minutes before carving. Serve with additional glaze, if desired.

Bourbon Glaze

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk together. Heat over high heat and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for 10-12 minutes, reducing the mixture by one-half. Set aside for the glaze to thicken as it cools.

If you are preparing a whole turkey, double or triple the brine recipe and adjust the cooking time depending on the size of the turkey. Also, add extra fruit, vegetables and herbs to the recipe and stuff into both cavities. Make sure to keep the turkey refrigerated or in a cooler with plenty of ice while brining. At no time should the temperature be above 36°F.


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