Try this delicious bacon-wrapped turkey for Thanksgiving – because everything is better with bacon!

Give your holiday bird an update by blanketing it in bacon

5D4B9754 - Bacon Wrapped Turkey - plated bacon wrapped turkey on a white table surrounded by corn, oranges, onions, bell pepper, blueberries, apricots and sage

Tired of your usual Thanksgiving turkey recipe? Give your holiday bird a bacon-wrapped update, with this recipe inspired by Better Homes & Gardens, and watch your family and friends drool when you bring it to the table!

Bacon makes everything better, especially traditional recipes that deserve a prime place on our holiday menus but have become rather boring on the palate. The Thanksgiving turkey is one such holiday staple that needs a culinary revival. The beloved November holiday wouldn’t be complete without a turkey, and we’re thrilled to wrap it in strips of succulent, smoky bacon and give it a fancy new look and flavor.

ALSO TRY: James Beard roasted turkey

Get under the turkey skin

Another innovative update to the traditional turkey recipe is slathering chopped bacon, onion and fresh sage directly on the turkey flesh. That means getting under the turkey skin. As the bird is cooking, the nuances of bacon, onion, and sage permeate the turkey meat, giving its savory taste exceptional depth.

To prep the turkey, remove the giblets and neck bone from its cavity. You can discard these turkey parts or use them to make gravy. Rinse the turkey and pat it dry with paper towels.

Loosen the breast skin of the turkey by sliding your fingers underneath it and carefully lifting the skin up from the turkey flesh without tearing the skin. Using your fingers, slide the chopped bacon, onion and sage mixture under the skin and rub it all over the breast and down toward the thighs.

Just stuff it!

The secret to adding flavor to your turkey is stuffing the cavity with tasty ingredients. Yes, we know that bread stuffing is traditional, but traditional does not necessarily mean tasty.

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Make butter and bacon mixture

Finely chop 2 slices of bacon. In a small bowl, combine chopped bacon, chopped onion and chopped fresh sage.

5D4B8820 - Bacon Wrapped Turkey - mixing ingredients in mixing bowl using spoon


Apply butter and bacon mixture to turkey

Separate skin and rub mixture on the flesh of the turkey, underneath the skin.

5D4B8941 - Bacon Wrapped Turkey - rubbing the bacon mixture underneath the skin and over the entire breast


Put onions and garlic inside the turkey

Salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity, then stuff it with fresh sage, sweet onion wedges, garlic cloves, orange slices and a bunch of fresh parsley. These yummy ingredients will give your turkey more flavor and make the turkey meat moist.

5D4B8979 - Bacon Wrapped Turkey - adding parsley into the inside cavity of the turkey


Get ready to roast

Secure the skin back over the turkey flesh, tuck the wings underneath its body, and tie the legs together with twine. Place the turkey breast-side up in a roasting pan.

5D4B9008 - Bacon Wrapped Turkey - tying the turkey legs together with cotton twine


Season the turkey

Generously brush the outside of the turkey with melted butter. Season it with salt and pepper. Weave bacon strips in a lattice pattern over the turkey breast and tuck fresh sage leaves underneath the bacon. As the turkey cooks, the bacon fat will melt into the turkey skin, and the bacon will caramelize into a covering of smoky goodness.

5D4B9083 - Bacon Wrapped Turkey - weaving 8 strips of bacon in a lattice pattern over the breast


Roast turkey in the oven

Add extra orange slices, onions and garlic to the bottom of the roasting pan and pour in chicken broth. These last ingredients will steam their flavors into the turkey as it roasts. Loosely cover the roasting pan with foil and roast in the oven for 2-1/2 hours. Remove the foil and roast for an additional 30 minutes to 1-1/2 hours, until the internal temperature of the turkey thigh reaches 180F.

5D4B9108 - Bacon Wrapped Turkey - pouring chicken broth in bottom of pan


Let turkey rest

After roasting, remove the turkey from the oven. Allow the turkey to rest, covered with foil, for 20 minutes so the turkey juices can redistribute through the meat. This ensures that every delicious slab of roasted turkey will be at its best when you carve it.

5D4B9718 - Bacon Wrapped Turkey - turkey roasting in the oven


Simply beautiful!

5D4B9743 - Bacon Wrapped Turkey - close-up of cooked bacon wrapped turkey


An impressive presentation on the table

5D4B9761 - Bacon Wrapped Turkey - close-up of cooked bacon wrapped turkey


Crisp, savory bacon is the perfect compliment to your tender turkey

5D4B9739 - Bacon Wrapped Turkey - close-up of cooked bacon wrapped turkey


Layers of deliciousness!

5D4B9791 - Bacon Wrapped Turkey - close-up of cooked bacon wrapped turkey


A unique twist on a classic dish

5D4B9824 - Bacon Wrapped Turkey - plated bacon wrapped turkey on a white table surrounded by corn, oranges, onions, bell pepper, blueberries, apricots and sage


Dig in!

5D4B9841 - Bacon Wrapped Turkey - getting a forkful from the plated bacon wrapped turkey on a white table surrounded by corn, oranges, onions, bell pepper, blueberries, apricots and sage


You’ll thoroughly enjoy each bite!

5D4B9855 - Bacon Wrapped Turkey - a forkful from plated bacon wrapped turkey on a white table surrounded by corn, oranges, onions, bell pepper, blueberries, apricots and sage


Bacon-wrapped turkey

Yield 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 10 slices applewood-smoked bacon, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 (12-pound) turkey, thawed if frozen
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh sage
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 bulb garlic, cloves separated, skin removed
  • 2 oranges, sliced
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley, with stems
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Finely chop 2 slices of bacon.
  3. In small bowl, combine chopped bacon, chopped onion and chopped fresh sage. Set aside.
  4. Remove giblets and neck bone from inside of turkey and place them in bottom of roasting pan.*
  5. After rinsing turkey well, pat it dry with paper towels.
  6. Loosen breast skin of turkey by sliding your fingers underneath it, ensuring that you don’t tear skin. Separate skin from meat as far back under breast as possible. Rub bacon mixture underneath skin and over entire breast. Reach down toward thigh bones with this mixture.
  7. Salt and pepper inside of cavity of turkey. Fill cavity with extra sage, sweet onion wedges, garlic cloves, orange slices and bunch of fresh parsley.
  8. Pull neck skin back and over cavity; secure with bamboo skewer.  
  9. Tuck wings under turkey.
  10. Tie legs together with cotton twine.
  11. Place turkey breast side up on rack in roasting pan.  
  12. Brush melted butter over entire breast, sides and legs of turkey.  
  13. Salt and pepper outside of turkey.
  14. Weave 8 strips of bacon in lattice pattern over breast. Tuck additional sage leaves underneath bacon weave.
  15. Add extra onions, oranges and garlic to bottom of pan.
  16. Pour chicken broth into bottom of pan.
  17. Cover pan loosely with foil and place it in oven.
  18. Roast for 2-1/2 hours. Remove foil. Roast for another 30 minutes to 1-1/2 hours. The turkey is done when thermometer inserted into thigh reaches 180F.  
  19. Remove turkey from oven and cover with foil.  Allow it to rest for 20 minutes.
  20. Carve and serve.

Notes

You can use turkey giblets and neckbone to make gravy. Otherwise, you can discard these items.

Courses Main Course


5D4B9754 - Bacon Wrapped Turkey - plated bacon wrapped turkey on a white table surrounded by corn, oranges, onions, bell pepper, blueberries, apricots and sage