Spicy Apricot-Bourbon Wild Turkey Recipe

A wild turkey recipe that was inspired by the Pioneer Woman's peach and whiskey chicken recipe. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

Serve this Spicy Apricot-Bourbon Wild Turkey Recipe over a pile of steaming hot mashed potatoes, and you've got a winning dinner

Serves: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 3-4 hours


  • 4 wild turkey thighs, skinless
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or ¼ teaspoon dry
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup bourbon or whiskey
  • 2 cups BBQ sauce (preferably more tart than sweet)
  • ¾ cup apricot preserves
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon coarse ground mustard
  • Freshly chopped green onion/chives for garnish
  • Freshly prepared mashed potatoes


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Pat wild turkey thighs dry and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Spicy Apricot-Bourbon Wild Turkey Recipe
    Season the wild turkey thighs with salt and pepper. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron pot over medium-high heat. Brown thighs on both sides, transfer to a dish and then set aside.
  4. Spicy Apricot-Bourbon Wild Turkey Recipe
    Add chopped onion, butter and additional seasonings to the pot. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

  5. Lower heat to medium. Add chopped onion and butter to the pot. Sweat until translucent and slightly browned, stirring frequently. Then add thyme, bay leaf and garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Carefully pour in bourbon and reduce until nearly evaporated, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add BBQ sauce, apricot preserves, water, cayenne, Worcestershire and mustard – whisk to combine.
  6. Spicy Apricot-Bourbon Wild Turkey Recipe
    Once the seasonings and sauces have been added, let the wild turkey thighs bake for 3 to 4 hours. (Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley photo)

  7. Return browned turkey thighs to the pot. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and then close with the lid (the foil slows down moisture loss). Transfer pot to the oven and bake at 300 degrees for 3 to 4 hours or until turkey becomes tender; flip thighs halfway through. Serve thighs over hot mashed potatoes with chopped green onion for garnish.

About This Spicy Apricot-Bourbon Wild Turkey Recipe

This wild turkey recipe was inspired by the Pioneer Woman’s peach and whiskey chicken recipe, but with a few tweaks of my own. Fruity, robust and savory, this red sauce works well with dark wild turkey thighs, and I prefer apricot preserves to peach for its distinct tang. It was also a good excuse to buy more Kentucky bourbon – my husband didn’t complain about that.

Note: I like to break down and separate wild turkey pieces by muscle groups for storage, but if you freeze the legs and thighs together, throw in the legs, too.

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