Turkey cooking with bacon

  1. Take the turkey out of the fridge 30min before stuffing to take the chill off it. Preheat oven to 220ºC (200ºC fan oven) mark 7.

  2. Put the turkey on a board, breast side down. Use your hands to push some of the stuffing into the neck end of the turkey, easing it up between the flesh and the skin towards the breast. Don’t pack it in too tightly as it will expand on cooking.

  3. Shape the protruding stuffing into a neat round, then tuck neck skin under the bird and secure with a skewer. Weigh bird and calculate the cooking time if outside the range given for this recipe.

  4. Put any leftover stuffing into a buttered ovenproof dish. Cover with buttered foil.

  5. Put one or two large sheets of strong foil across a large roasting tin. Put the turkey in the middle and spread the butter all over it. Season with a little salt and plenty of ground black pepper and pop two rosemary sprigs inside the cavity. Overlap the bacon rashers across the turkey breast. Snip over the remaining rosemary. Tie the legs together with string.

  6. Bring the edges of the foil together; fold into pleat along the length of the breastbone but well above it to make a ‘tent’ with plenty of air space above the breast.

  7. Put the turkey on a low shelf in the oven and roast for around 30min. Reduce oven temperature to 170ºC (150ºC fan) mark 3 and cook for a further 3½hr.

  8. Fold back the foil from the top and sides of the turkey and push the bacon slices off the breast to allow the skin to brown. Increase the oven temperature to 200ºC (180ºC fan) mark 6 and cook the turkey for a further 30-40min, basting it with the juices twice during this time.

  9. When the bird is cooked, transfer it to a warm carving platter – you’ll need help at this stage, so you can tip the bird upright and let the cooking juices run back into the roasting tin.

  10. Cover turkey with foil and leave to ‘rest’ for 30-40min before carving.


Preheat the oven to 350° and arrange the shelf nearest the bottom.

Grace Parisi

Place a large sheet of parchment paper on a work surface. Arrange half of the bacon in strips, side to side to form a square. To form a lattice, working from the left side of the square, fold back every other strip of bacon the width of a slice. Lay a new slice of bacon over the unfolded strips and return the folded bacon to the original position.

Grace Parisi

Continue weaving the remaining bacon in the same manner, until you have a woven square. Slide the parchment onto a baking sheet and transfer to the freezer for 10 minutes, until the bacon is firm.

Grace Parisi

Place the turkey on a cutting board and tie the legs together.

Grace Parisi

Remove the bacon from the freezer and working quickly, carefully lift it from the parchment. Arrange the bacon square so that the 4 corners are at the neck, the cavity and both wings. Tuck the bacon around the bird, covering the breast and legs. Season with pepper.

Grace Parisi

Place the turkey onto a roasting rack set in a roasting pan and scatter the vegetables, neck and giblets all around. Add 3 cups of water to the pan. Loosely cover the turkey with foil and roast for 1 ½ hours, adding water to keep the vegetables moist. Remove the foil and roast until in instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 165°, about 1 ½ hours longer.

Carefully transfer the turkey to a cutting board while you make the gravy. Strain the pan juices into a heat-proof cup and spoon 4 tablespoons of the fat into a large saucepan. Discard the remaining fat. Whisk the flour into the fat and cook over moderately high heat until bubbling and nutty, about 4 minutes. Add the turkey stock and defatted pan juices and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.

Grace Parisi is a New York City-based food writer, cookbook author and food stylist. Her book, Get Saucy, was nominated for a James Beard award. Her latest book, Quick Pickles comes out in Spring 2016. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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Bacon-wrapped turkey: Camila Alves shows how it’s done

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Turkey for Thanksgiving, of course! That is to be expected. But, a turkey wrapped in bacon for Thanksgiving?!?! Yes, please! If you really want to impress your friends and family this Thanksgiving, walk out with (don’t drop it!) a turkey that is covered in crispy bacon. You really need everyone to see this beautiful display before you cut into it. And, I am happy to say that Bacon Wrapped Turkey tastes as great as it looks! When you make this turkey be sure to also make the BEST gravy int he world, Bacon Turkey Gravy!

Bacon-Wrapped Turkey

Thanksgiving has been a national holiday in the United States since 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln declared it so. Turkey was assumed to be the bird for the holiday since colonists had been hunting and eating these birds since the early 1600s. However, just because turkeys were hunted and eaten lots, there is some debate as to which fowl was actually served at ‘The First Thanksgiving’. Either way, turkeys are large enough to feed a large group and have become more-than-one holiday food staple. Adding bacon to the turkey may seem time-consuming, but it is easier than you might think it is! I will give you step-by-step directions for the bacon wrapping below. Serve Candied Yams, my Green Bean Casserole, and Mashed Potatoes to make it really feel like a feast!

Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Recipe

This recipe will be the talk of the table when they see the presentation. It will still be the topic of conversation when everyone tastes the turkey! It starts with the garlic butter spread and is topped off with the crispy bacon!

Garlic Butter Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter
  • Garlic
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Paprika
  • Kosher salt

Turkey Ingredients

  • Turkey
  • Onions
  • Bacon
  • Chicken broth

How to Make Bacon Wrapped Turkey

First, you need your garlic butter ready to go. I like to use a food processor to finely chop all of the herbs before mixing it into the butter. Set that aside and focus on the turkey. Remove all of the “extras”, including the neck and the giblets. Do with these as you wish. Put half the onions in the roasting pan, and place the other half of the onions in the cavity of the turkey. Place the turkey, breast side up, into a roasting pan, right on top of the onions.

It’s time to rub on the garlic butter. Don’t be alarmed by the color, that is from the smoked paprika, and I don’t recommend leaving it out, you will miss out on all of that smokey flavor!

Smear the butter mixture under and over the skin. Gently pull back the skin of the turkey, without completely detaching it. Smear the garlic butter mixture under the skin as much as you can. This is what creates the slow butter drip and the natural basting process. Reattach skin as much as you can, and then smear again on the outside of the skin. Basically, butter just goes everywhere! Next, pour the chicken broth into the base of the roasting pan and get ready to cover the turkey with the bacon!

How to Wrap Turkey in Bacon

I may not be the best at wrapping gifts, but I’ve got this bacon wrapping technique down. Before you begin wrapping, be sure the oven is set to 425°F.

  1. Wrap each leg with 2 slices of bacon.
  2. Wrap each wing with 1 slice of bacon, then tuck the wingtips under the bird.
  3. Forget the turkey for a moment, and spread out a large piece of parchment paper and lay 8 pieces of bacon side by side. There should be no spaces in between the bacon.
  4. Fold up every other piece of bacon about halfway.
  5. Lay a single piece of bacon down horizontally, unfolding the pieces you folded up.
  6. Fold up the other half of the pieces of bacon and lay another piece of bacon down, horizontally. You will start to see a crisscross pattern going on. (Think of a tic-tac-toe board, but with more crisscrossing going on. Or, think of a pie crust.)
  7. After you have crisscrossed the bacon pieces, rotate the parchment paper 90 degrees. You will now see a diamond shape, or rhombus if you want to be particular.
  8. Carefully flip over the parchment paper so the bacon is now laying on top of the turkey. Remove the parchment paper and tuck in the ends of the bacon where you can. You can trim some if you need to.

Cooking the Bacon Wrapped Turkey

Cook the Bacon Wrapped Turkey for about 40 minutes at 425°F. The bacon will be slightly crispy already. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F to finish roasting the turkey. Cook for another 2 to 2 and a half hours, basting every 20-30 minutes. If you are cooking a larger bird, I would increase the time. If you start to notice your bacon burning, cover the turkey with a large piece of tin foil. At the end of the day, you are going to be looking for a specific temperature to know when the turkey is done the cooking. Using a meat thermometer is a must! Make sure to insert it into the thickest part of the bird, and that the tip doesn’t touch the bone. I like to take my turkey out of the oven at 160°F and not 165°F. I find that when the turkey rests for 30-minutes on the counter it will hit 165°F on its own.

Be ready for this to be a show-stopper at your next holiday gathering!

Looking for More Holiday Recipes?

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Pumpkin Pie

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Caramel Apple Pie

Impress your guests with this tender and juicy turkey, covered in plenty of crispy bacon!

Course Dinner, Main Course Cuisine American Keyword Bacon Turkey Gravy, Bacon Wrapped Turkey, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Turkey, Turkey Prep Time 30 minutes Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes Resting Time 30 minutes Calories 518 kcal Author Amanda Rettke-iambaker.net



  • 1 cup (2 sticks) (227g) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt




  1. Thaw turkey (estimate 5 hours of refrigerator thaw time per pound of turkey). The thawed turkey should sit at room temperature for a minimum of 2 hours before cooking.
  1. Mix together butter, garlic, thyme, sage, smoked paprika, and salt. It can be prepared up to three days before and stored in the refrigerator. Let it get to room temperature before using.


  1. Arrange an oven rack at the bottom third of the oven. Remove any upper racks.

  2. Preheat oven to 425°F.

  3. Remove giblets and neck from turkey and discard. Drain cavity well; pat dry with paper towels. It’s important to get the skin dry so that the butter will stick to the turkey!

  4. Place half of the onions in the roasting pan and the remaining onions in the cavity of the turkey.
  5. Place turkey, breast side up, in a roasting pan.
  6. Gently loosen and lift skin from turkey breast without totally detaching skin. (you can use rubber gloves here!) Rub 3 tablespoons garlic butter under the skin.

  7. Tuck or tie ends of legs together with kitchen string.
  8. Generously rub the entire turkey including the cavity with remaining garlic butter.
  9. Pour chicken broth into the base of the roasting pan.
  10. Wrap each leg with 2 slices of bacon.
  11. Wrap each wing with 1 slice of bacon and then tuck the wingtips under the bird.

  12. Set out a large piece of parchment paper and place 8 pieces of bacon side by side, leaving no space in between.

  13. Fold every other strip of bacon up about halfway. Lay another strip of bacon down, perpendicular to the others. Fold the parallel strips back down, then fold up all the other strips. Lay another perpendicular strip down, and repeat until all the strips have been used.
  14. Rotate the parchment 90 degrees so that you are looking at a diamond instead of a square.

  15. Gently flip the parchment paper over so the bacon is on the top of the turkey with the tip of the diamond at the neck of the turkey.

  16. Once you have everything in place, tuck the ends of the bacon weave in so that no bacon is overlapping. Trim if necessary.
  17. Place roasting pan in oven for 40 minutes. The bacon should be dark and slightly crisp.
  18. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
  19. Roast for an additional 2-2.5 hours or until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Timing will adjust based on the size of your turkey. The general rule of thumb is 13-15 minutes for each pound of turkey. Basting and opening and shutting the oven will affect cooking time as well. Use tin foil to cover the turkey if the bacon starts to get too crispy. Baste the turkey every 20-30 minutes.

  20. Remove the turkey from the oven and place it on a serving tray. Allow it to rest for 30 minutes before carving.
  21. Use the drippings to make a gravy (check out my bacon gravy recipe! Link in the post!)


Thanksgiving Bacon Wrapped Turkey

  1. Make the bacon butter by placing the butter, bacon and herbs into a food processor and blending until smooth.
  2. Prepare your turkey by removing giblets and placing breast side up on a roasting rack.
  3. Rub the bacon butter liberally all over the outside and inside of the turkey. Place the sliced onion inside of the turkey. Tie the turkey’s legs together with twine if desired.
  4. Wrap each leg with 3-4 pieces of bacon. Wrap the wing with bacon and tuck the ends underneath the turkey.
  5. Lay 8 slices of bacon on a large piece of parchment paper, laying them side by side.
  6. Starting at the bottom, weave 8 more slices into the first layer. Make sure to keep the pieces as close to each other as possible. Thicker pieces of bacon work best.
  7. Once the bacon weave is finished, lift the parchment paper and place the bacon weave on top of the turkey breast. Remove the parchment paper. Tuck the end pieces in and around the breast and into the crease of the leg.
  8. Place the roasting rack with the turkey in a roasting pan. Make sure your turkey is at room temperature before cooking.
  9. Add 2 cups of water to the roasting pan, this will help the bacon not to shrink while cooking.
  10. Heat your oven to 425 F. Roast the turkey for 30-40 minutes to help darken and crisp the skin.
  11. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F and place a thermometer probe into the turkey. Roast the turkey for another 2-2 1/2 hours. Cook until the thermometer reaches 165 F in the breast, outer thigh and between the thigh and breast. A turkey usually needs to cook at least 13 minutes per pound.
  12. Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes before carving.
  13. You can make this up to 2 days in advance of cooking. Wrap with foil and keep. Remove 2 hours before cooking to bring the turkey closer to room temperature.

  1. If you have time the day before, salt the turkey. Make the salt mix by grinding the salt with the thyme leaves and pepper in a spice grinder or with a pestle and mortar. Sit the turkey in a roasting tin and season all over, inside and out, using about two-thirds of the salt. Leave the turkey in the tin, breast-side up, cover with cling film and put in the fridge for up to 24 hrs. If you don’t have time, or there is no room in the fridge, simply prepare the salt and season the turkey generously before roasting.

  2. To make the bacon butter, gently cook the bacon in a dry frying pan for about 10 mins, stirring occasionally, until the fat has seeped into the pan and is sizzling gently, and the bacon is crisp. Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly. Scrape the bacon and the fat into a food processor with the butter and maple syrup. Blitz to combine, scraping down the sides of the processor from time to time. Roll up the butter in cling film to form a log and place in the fridge. Can be made a few days ahead or frozen for 1 month.

  3. Remove the turkey from the fridge an hour or so before you want to cook it. Remove the bacon butter from the fridge to soften up. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Calculate your cooking time based on 40 mins per kg for the first 4kg of the turkey, plus 45 mins for every kg after that.

  4. Gently push your fingers under the skin of the turkey, starting from the neck, until you can push your whole hand in down the length of the breast. Take care not to tear the skin. Use your hands to spread the bacon butter under the skin so that it covers the entire breast area, and there is butter in the crevice between the thigh and the main body. Pop a sprig of thyme under the skin of each breast, then smooth the skin over with your buttery hands. Place the onion, lemon, bay leaves and garlic in the cavity.

  5. Cover the tin loosely with foil and roast for the calculated cooking time – 30 mins before the end of cooking, increase the oven temperature to 200C/180C fan/gas 6, remove the foil, baste the turkey and return to the oven. When the turkey is beautifully brown and cooked through, remove from the oven and leave to rest on a warm platter covered in foil for up to 1 hr.

  6. Pour the fat away from the roasting tin, leaving just the juices. If your tin is flameproof, pour in the Sticky Port gravy (see ‘Goes well with’, right) to reheat with the juices; if not, tip them both into a saucepan and reheat. Serve the remaining salt mix as a seasoning alongside the rest of the meal.


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5).
  2. To make the infused butter, melt the butter in a pot, add in the chopped herbs, lemon zest and orange zest. Allow to infuse and stir.
  3. Turn the turkey breast side up and pack the neck cavity loosely with stuffing (if using), then tie the top of the drumsticks together with string.
  4. Using the halved orange and lemon place into the cavity of the turkey along with the thyme.
  5. Smear with most of the butter and season generously, then place the bacon over the breasts to cover them completely.
  6. Weigh the turkey to calculate the required cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 20 minutes extra.
  7. Place the chopped carrot & red onion in the bottom of a roasting tin. Place the stuffed turkey in the centre of the roasting tray, breast side up. Brush over the infused butter.
  8. Cover with overlapping streaky bacon. Drizzle over rapeseed oil. Pour a jug of cold water into the end of the roasting tray. Cover with a double layer of tin foil.
  9. Put in the oven and cook according to your calculated cooking time, carefully unwrapping and basting the turkey every 40 minutes.
  10. For the final hour, fold back and remove the foil, keeping the ends of the drumsticks still covered in foil to prevent them from burning. Baste well and return to the oven. The turkey should be a rich, dark brown colour.
  11. To make sure it’s cooked, insert a fine skewer into the thickest part of the thigh – the juices should run clear, but if they are still pink, return the turkey to the oven and check again every 15 minutes, until you are happy that the turkey is cooked right through.
  12. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes (up to 30 minutes is fine).
  13. To serve, garnish the turkey with the bunch of herbs in the neck cavity and bring to the table. Carve into slices and arrange on warmed plates with all the trimmings.