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Maple Bourbon Brined Turkey with Pecan Quinoa Stuffing


This week on The Lovely Project, is LOVELYkitchen week!

We have an amazing lineup this week to help ensure that you tap into your inner Domestic Diva to help you stun and amaze your family with the BEST Thanksgiving ever! Whether you’re playing the part of “hostess with the most-ess,” and concocting the whole she-bang; or you’re just meant to bring your favorite side to the big meal at G-ma’s house, we’ve got your hook-up, right here! So, make sure you check out our special Thanksgiving articles all week long. And of course, we start today with the piece-de-resistance… The main attraction… The headlining act…

The Turkey!

This turkey recipe is amazing because it uses maple in 3 steps to maximize the flavors, but it is still well balanced with the complimentary flavors.

The stuffing is a great gluten-free alternative for guests that may have sensitivities, and is no less delicious than your best recipe!

This recipe is for a 12-14lb. turkey, rinsed and gizzards removed. Serves 8-10 people.


Maple Bourbon Brine:

1 cup of water

2 T. kosher salt

4 T. Maple syrup

1/2 cup bourbon (such as Jack Daniels)

Mix ingredients together and warm briefly until salt is dissolved. Cool completely.


Compound Butter

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened

1 T. brown sugar

3 T. pure maple syrup

Mix ingredients together.


Basting glaze

1/2 cup bourbon, such as Jack Daniels

3 cups maple syrup

Mix together and cook over medium heat in a 2 qt saucepan until mixture is reduced by one half, and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Brush over turkey every time that you baste, which should be once every 30-45 minutes.


Pecan Quinoa Stuffing

2 T. olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup diced carrots

2 cups quinoa

4 1/4 cups water

3/4 cup chopped pecans

2 t. salt

1 t. thyme leaves

3/4 t. ground sage

Rinse quinoa in a fine strainer under running water for 2-3 minutes. Allow to drain completely, and pat dry with a paper towel.

In a 2 qt. sauce pot heat olive oil over medium heat, and add onions and carrots. Cook, stirring frequently until onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add quinoa and pecans and cook for 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Add water, salt, and seasonings and raise temperature to high to bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 18 minutes. Remove from heat, remove cover and fluff with a fork.

Note: This stuffing may be made the day ahead for ease of preparation.



Prepare brine mixture the night before. Use a turkey injector to insert brine into the meat, all throughout the legs, breast and thigh areas. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix butter with brown sugar and maple syrup. push underneath the skin in the turkey breast area, spreading as evenly as possible. (This step seems awkward, but yields delicious results).

Stuff bird loosely with quinoa mixture. (Any extra can be heated separately).

Use a covered Dutch oven to roast (or tent with foil) for the first 2 1/2 hours, basting every 30-45 minutes with the glaze recipe. Remove cover in the last 1/2 hour for nice browning. The total cooking time should be 3  to 4  hours, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to rest, covered, for at least 20-30 minutes before carving.