Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe: Secret Ingredient Bacon

One thing I love about Thanksgiving is that I get to cook the turkey. Over the years I have tinkered with several different ways of cooking them. One that was especially fun, was the brown-paper grocery bag method. Alas, I had to give that one up when I found out there could be metal in the bag. I finally found a method and recipe that has produced a bird everyone loves.

Inside Ingredients

I don’t stuff the turkey with stuffing, rather I use:

  • Whole Apple
  • Whole Orange
  • 1-2 Yellow Onions

The apple, orange, and onions not only add flavor but also aroma while cooking.

Rub Ingredients

thanksgiving turkey recipe rubbed with spices

I do a spice rub using the following:

  • 1 – 2 sticks of Butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • At least 4 Garlic Cloves

The spices mix well together and provide a flavorful broth that can be used as a gravy base or poured over the carved meat. You’ll notice I don’t have measurements for all of these ingredients. I eyeball it so that there is enough to cover the turkey.

Secret Ingredient… Bacon!

My secret ingredient is bacon! I layer the turkey with one pound of bacon making sure to cover as much of the bird as possible.thanksgiving turkey recipe layered with bacon

The bacon helps to keep the juices in as well as protecting the skin from browning too much. They also absorb some of the rub, which makes the bacon extra flavorful.

The Process

Here’s how it all comes together…

thanksgiving turkey recipe ready for cooking


  1. Rinse the turkey and remove the gizzards (you can save these to make gravy)
  2. Pat dry with paper towels getting it as dry as possible
  3. Rub the turkey down with butter
  4. Mix the Salt, Pepper, Rosemary, Thyme, and Sage together
  5. Generously rub the bird with the dry ingredients (every side and get in the nooks and crannies)
  6. Put cloves of garlic under the skin (at least four)
  7. Put the apple, orange, and onions inside the cavities
  8. Turn the turkey breast side down (all the juices flow into the breast meat keeping it moist
  9. Layer with the bacon
  10. Place in a roasting bag and cook per instructions
  11. When ready remove the bacon (can be crumbled and used with green beans or other sides)
  12. Carve and serve

It’s really that easy and tastes amazing.

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