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side view of smoked turkey gravy

Smoked Turkey Gravy Recipe with Bourbon

A simple way to make smoked Thanksgiving turkey gravy with added flavor of bourbon and thyme.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine holiday, Thanksgiving Gravy, Thanksgiving side dish
Keyword bourbon gravy, smoked turkey gravy, turkey gravy without drippings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Calories 880kcal
Cost $10.00


  • Strainer


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 smoked turkey drum or thigh, fully cooked (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 cup diced red onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 5 cups chicken stock, separated (reserve 1 cup for slurry)
  • 10 sprigs of thyme
  • ¼ cup flour (all purpose or gluten-free 1:1 flour, both work)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper


  • Brown the smoked turkey leg or thigh. Add olive oil to a large stock pot over medium heat and add the smoked turkey leg. While it’s already fully cooked, browning helps add that flavor to the pan as you sauté the onions and add the liquid. Brown and turn the turkey four times to get the most flavor from each side.
  • Sauté Onions and Garlic. After browning, add the diced onions and continue to stir. Soften the onions, but don’t caramelize, about 6 – 7 minutes. Then add garlic and stir for one additional minute.
  • Add Bourbon, Stock, and Thyme. Pour bourbon to deglaze the pan and stir while it simmers (about 2 minutes). Then add the stock and thyme and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes to let the smoke from turkey leg infuse and liquid reduce. Adjust heat up or down to keep it from boiling.
  • Add Slurry, Salt, and Pepper. Combine the remaining one cup of stock and flour in a small jar, shake and add to the gravy. Add kosher salt and black pepper. Stir and bring back to a simmer for 10 more minutes. The gravy will thicken up after 10 minutes of a simmer.
  • Strain. Remove the turkey leg, and then strain the gravy. Serve with your holiday meal.



Turkey Leg: If you do not have a smoker, then purchase a pre-smoked turkey leg or thigh. You can usually find them at the supermarket during the holidays near the whole turkeys or in the deli section. I've also seen them in the frozen meats section too. 
How to Smoke a Turkey Leg:
  1. Preheat smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit using fruit wood or oak.
  2. Liberally season the leg with extra virgin olive oil and our poultry seasoning.
  3. Smoke the leg until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit (about 45 minutes to one hour).
Bourbon: If the pan is too hot, the Bourbon could completely evaporate. Be sure to adjust the temperature of the pot once you add the Bourbon to avoid it boiling out.


Calories: 880kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 81g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 255mg | Sodium: 1234mg | Potassium: 1581mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 238IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 9mg