Perfect Roast Turkey With Bacon

roast turkey with bacon
Rick Poon / Moment / Getty
Ratings (15)
  • Total: 77 hrs
  • Prep: 72 hrs
  • Cook: 5 hrs
  • Yield: 1 roasted turkey (12 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
761 Calories
34g Fat
21g Carbs
90g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Roasting is simple: you put what is being roasted into a hot oven and cook it until it is done. For some reason—a desire for juicy white meat and a reasonable fear of less-than-cooked poultry flesh—roasting the Thanksgiving turkey has been turned into something way, way more complicated that it needs to be. Find an easy and supremely delicious way to roast your turkey below.

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 to 12 pound) turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (per pound of turkey)
  • Optional: 2 leaves sage
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup butter (softened)
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1/2 pound bacon, pancetta, or prosciutto (thinly sliced)
  • 1 1/2 cups ​broth (chicken, or tawny port or turkey stock)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Rinse turkey well and pat thoroughly dry with paper towels. Rub the turkey all over with the salt. It will seem like a lot of salt. It's okay, most of it will fall off before it ever sees the inside of the oven. Rub some under the skin on the breast and thighs, and all over the bird and inside the cavities.

  3. Put the turkey in a large bowl or roasting pan, cover, and chill for 24 to 72 hours. This pre-salting will help the bird be flavorful and hold onto its own natural juices when you roast it.

  4. A day before you plan to cook the turkey, uncover it, pour off any juices in the bottom of the bowl or pan, pat it dry, and chill uncovered. Leaving the turkey uncovered will help the skin dry out a bit which will help you get that wonderfully crispy skin we all love on a roasted bird.

  5. Preheat oven to 400 F. Pat the turkey dry. If using the sage, work the sage leaves under the skin on the breasts and thighs.

  6. Rub the turkey all over with the butter.

  7. Place the celery stalks in the roasting pan—these will keep the turkey raised off the bottom of the pan without the hassle of a roasting rack, but you can also use one instead.

  8. Lay the bacon, pancetta, or prosciutto all over the turkey breast. They will help protect the white meat from getting overcooked, naturally baste the meat as it cooks, and provide the chef with a lovely little snack before having to carve the bird.

  9. Put 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the pan and put the whole thing in the oven.

  10. After 30 minutes, reduce heat to 350 F and gently baste the turkey, being careful to not disturb the bacon, with 1/2 cup of the port or stock. Repeat basting every half hour, using the pan juices when you run out of port or stock.

  11. Roast until a thermometer reads 170 F at the base of the thigh or 160 F at the thickest part of the breast.

  12. Remove turkey from the oven, tent with foil, and let sit in a warm place for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour before carving. This time will allow the meat to finish cooking, let the juices settle back into the meat, and give you time to make the gravy and finish up the rest of the meal.

  13. Serve and enjoy!