2 gallons water
1 cup salt
1 cup black pepper
1 cup brown sugar
1 wild turkey
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
1. Brine the turkey: Mix the water, salt, pepper, and brown sugar together in a large pot. Place the turkey in the brine mixture and weigh it down to keep it submerged (an inverted dinner plate topped with a rock does the trick). Refrigerate overnight.
2. Prepare your grill: An hour before cooking, soak five big handfuls of hickory chips in water. Make two piles of charcoal at the sides of the grill, leaving enough open space so the bird won’t be directly over the coals. Put a disposable aluminum pan in the center to catch any drips. Light the charcoal. When it’s covered with ash, add the soaked wood chips.
3. Drain the turkey and pat it dry. Place it over the drip pan, breast-side up, and cover the grill. Keep the lid vents about halfway open.
4. Cook until the thigh meat registers 180 degrees on a meat thermometer, about 12 to 14 minutes per pound. After the first hour, baste it with half of the melted butter. Repeat an hour later, and also toss a handful more of charcoal on each pile. Once it’s lit, add another handful of wood chips.
5. With roughly a half hour left to cook, make a maple glaze by combining the maple syrup, pepper, and bourbon. Brush it onto the turkey. (If the glaze starts to burn, loosely cover the bird with foil.) After you remove the turkey from the grill, let it rest for 15 minutes before carving.