Gravy! I think it one of the hardest parts of a Thanksgiving menu. Not because making a gravy is hard, but because most gravy recipes call for the drippings from the turkey. When you finally have the drippings from the turkey it is time to get everyone off the couch to come to the table and the kitchen is crazy. That is not the time to be making one of the most important dishes. Gravy can make or break the turkey! So, make this recipe ahead of time and save yourself the frustration of trying to pull off a fabulous gravy 5 minutes before its time to eat.

You can make this recipe earlier in the day of Thanksgiving or you can make it up to a week in advance.


Bourbon and Smoked Turkey Gravy

This make ahead gravy is easy and delicious and takes the pressure off on the day of. Make up to a week ahead. 


  • 1 smoked turkey drumstick (available in the meat section)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves-remove peel but keep whole
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 5 fresh thyme stems
  • 3 sage leaves
  • 2 cups chicken stock, homemade or (2 large box)-not broth
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup flour


  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and smoked drumstick. Saute until the onions become soft and the drumstick starts to brown, about 15 minutes.

  2. Turn off heat. Add bourbon, thyme and sage. Turn heat back on to medium-high. Let simmer for a couple minutes to burn off some of the alcohol.  

  3. Add 4 cups of stock and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 20 minutes.

  4. Remove drumstick and strain gravy through a fine mesh sieve. 

  5. In pot, melt butter.  Add flour and whisk until smooth.  Allow to cook until light brown.  It will be a paste. 

  6. Slowly pour strained gravy back to the pot and turn on heat to medium. Whisking constantly until the flour is incorporated into the liquid. 

  7. Simmer over medium heat for about 20 more minutes or until the gravy begins to thicken. 

  8. Season with salt and pepper if needed. If you are not tasting the Bourbon then add 1 Tablespoon at the end and let simmer for about 10 minutes to let the alcohol burn off. 

Recipe Notes

* You will be able to find smoked turkey drumsticks in the meat section during the holiday season. 
* You can adjust the thickness of the gravy by adding more or less stock at the end of the final 20 minutes.  
* If you make this in advance you might need to add more stock to it when reheating to get the right consistency. 
* Try to buy the best chicken stock you can find or afford.  Don't use broth, use stock.

Needed Items