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Best Bacon Wrapped Turkey

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For the longest time, I got away without cooking during the holidays. My sister-in-law would do Thanksgiving, my parents would do Christmas Eve, and my in-laws would do Christmas Day. All my family and I had to do, was show up with maybe … wine/beer, and bread.

Then, everyone moved out of state and we were left by ourselves. However, I can sincerely count on one hand how many times I cooked a turkey. It can ruin the whole dinner if not cooked right. So, I avoided cooking it on many holidays.  I am sure there are plenty of people out there that feel the same way as I do about turkey.

I have cooked a turkey the traditional way – in the oven – and I have cooked it on the BBQ and I called it “Beer Butt” turkey. Both ways came out okay. However, since we now live close to family again – YEAH!!!! – I decided to do Thanksgiving at our place this year. Why not???

Again, turkey is the white meat that scares me. Just like chicken breast. I just dislike cooking it. Not enough fat on it and can be very dry if not cooked right. But since I was having family and friends over for Thanksgiving this year, I was on a mission to cook the perfect bird. So I researched “best turkey” and came across “bacon covered turkey” and found this amazing recipe from “Something New For Dinner”. It takes a little planning but … it … is … so … worth … it!!!! The meat just melted in our mouth.

I was a little nervous because it was a new recipe – you never cook a new recipe for guests EVER – and it was a big bird … 20 lbs. It takes a little planning but … it … is … so … worth … it!!!! The meat just melted in our mouth.

This recipe takes a little planning … but … it … was … so … worth … it!!!! The meat just melted in our mouth.

On the menu with the turkey was stuffing, sweet potato casserole, gravy, Brussel sprouts salad, corn pudding, cranberry sauce, and a garden salad. Did I say everything was so finger-licking good already?

So, here it is. I prepped the turkey on Wednesday night to make cooking on Thanksgiving less painless.  I started by making a sage/bacon butter in the food processor. Then I proceeded with separating the skin from the flesh to be able to rub half the butter under the skin; the other half was rubbed on top of the skin. To finish it up, I completely wrapped the turkey with bacon. And voila!!! The turkey was ready to be cooked.

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Weaving the bacon was a bit tricky. As you can see, I messed it up a bit. But overall, it was quite fun.

Bacon Wrapped Turkey
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-14
 
Ingredients
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ¾ pound butter, room temperature
  • 2 oz of fresh sage
  • 3 lbs of thick cut bacon, divided
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 3" pieces
  • 3 leeks, cleaned and cut into 3" pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 3" pieces
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 apple, sliced peels on
  • 1 20-pound turkey
  • Kosher salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Place oven shelf at the bottom of the oven. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. For the bacon butter - Put the garlic cloves in a food processor and whirl to finely mince. Add herbs and pulse to chop. Add butter and about ½ pound of bacon and pulse to combine.
  3. To prepare the turkey - Remove the neck, gizzards, liver, pop-up thermometer and assorted parts that come with your turkey and discard, unless you use these for gravy. Slide your hands between the turkey and the skin to separate. Work your hands all the way around the turkey so that the skin is separated from the flesh. Take half of the compounded bacon-herb butter and spread it all around underneath the turkey skin. Rub the remaining butter compound over the skin, giving the turkey a good butter-bacon massage. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. To weave the bacon jacket - Start by wrapping the drumsticks. Begin at the back to the drumstick and wind the bacon around trying to slightly overlap each piece until each drumstick is covered. Place a horizontal strip of bacon across the breast just below the neck hole. Now place a vertical strip of bacon on the far right of the bird, going from the neck end towards the bottom of the bird. Alternate weaving horizontal strips and vertical strips until the entire top of the turkey is covered in the jacket. Take care to slightly overlap each strip. Using some kitchen string, tie the legs of the bird together.
  5. To cook the turkey - Scatter the carrots, leeks, celery, onion and apples in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place a roasting rack on top of the vegetables and place the turkey on top of the rack. Roast for 30 minutes at 450 degrees and then reduce heat to 375 degrees. Watch the bacon and as soon as it begins to darken cover with tin foil, usually in the first 30 minutes. Cook the turkey until its internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, about 15 minutes per pound. When turkey reaches 155 to 160 degrees, remove from the oven and let rest for 30 minutes before serving. The turkey will continue to cook while resting and the internal temperature will rise to 165 degrees. Always use a thermometer to safely determine when the turkey is done.
Notes
**Use Organic Ingredients Whenever Possible** I don't know if it was the altitude here in Boulder but my 20 lbs turkey was going to be ready is about 3 hrs. In order to slow down the cooking process, I lowered the temperature at 325 lbs until ready. So feel free to adjust the temperature if you see your turkey is cooking too fast.

 

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