Prep time: 30 mins Cook time: 3 hours 30 mins Total time: 4 hours
This bacon wrapped turkey is every bit as incredible as it looks. It is fun to make and one of the easiest, most flavorful and moist turkeys I have ever made. No stuffing, no brining, just a little jacket weaving. I encourage you to try this turkey!
4 garlic cloves
½ pound butter, room temperature
1 large handful mixed fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley, sage)
1½ pound 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 14-pound turkey
Kosher salt and pepper
For the bacon butter
Place oven shelf in bottom of the oven. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Put the garlic cloves in a food processor and whirl to finely mince. Add herbs and briefly pulse to chop. Add butter and ½ pound of bacon and pulse to combine.
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 separates 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.
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.
To cook the turkey
Place an oven rack in the bottom of the oven and remove all the top racks. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. 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 or about 3½ hours total for a 14 pound bird.
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.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 bunch fresh sage, leaves finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 loaf cornbread, cubed (about 6 cups)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 cups chicken stock
1 (12 to 14 pound) fresh turkey
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup hot water
8 strips smoked bacon
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 lemon, juiced
Watch how to make this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and remove the top rack.
Combine the butter and sage in a mixing bowl, mash with a fork or spoon until the sage is well incorporated and the butter has flecks of green in it; season with salt and pepper.
In a saute pan, melt 4 tablespoons of the sage butter, add the onions, cook and stir for 15 minutes until soft and golden. Remove from heat. Put the cornbread in a large mixing bowl and scrape the sauteed onion mixture on top. Add the egg, heavy cream, and just enough chicken stock to moisten the stuffing without making it soggy (about 1/2 cup.) Toss well to combine, season with salt and pepper.
Remove the neck and gizzards from the inside of the turkey and discard. Rinse the bird thoroughly inside and out with cold water, pat dry. Sprinkle the cavity and skin liberally with salt and pepper. Using your fingers, gently lift the skin from the breast and legs, and slip pieces of the sage butter underneath; massaging it in as you go. Fill the bird with the cornbread stuffing without packing too tightly; cook the remaining stuffing separately in a buttered baking dish. Truss the turkey; place it on a rack in a large roasting pan, and put into the oven.
Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and hot water to thin the glaze out a bit; use this to baste the turkey every 30 minutes. The turkey should take about 3 hours to cook (i.e. 15 to 20 minutes per pound.) If the legs or breast brown too quickly, cover with foil. About 2 hours into cooking, shingle the strips of bacon oven the turkey breast to cover; continue to roast and baste for another hour or so. The turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meatiest part of the thigh registers 170 degrees F (the thigh juices will also run clear when pricked with a knife.) Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let rest for 20 minutes before carving, so the juices can settle back into the meat.
Skim off the excess fat from the pan drippings with a spoon and place the roasting pan over 2 burners set on medium-high heat. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up brown bits stuck to bottom of pan. Whisk the flour into the drippings, stirring as it thickens to prevent lumps. Add the remaining chicken stock and bring to a simmer; season with salt and pepper and hit it with a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the flavor. Simmer for 5 minutes and then strain to remove any particles. Serve the gravy with the maple-roasted turkey and cornbread stuffing.