Bacon Bird with Turkey Neck Gravy

By • October 21, 2012 71 Comments

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Author Notes: When we were kids my step mom Jennie made fantastic turkey, wrapped in bacon and roasted to juicy perfection. Jennie is a great cook - following instincts and sense of flavor rather than recipes, and I don't remember her ever making a bad meal. This is my version of her bacon bird - I used a 14 pounder but if you want larger or smaller then just adjust the amounts and times accordingly - this is your bird! aargersi

Food52 Review: WHO: aargersi is a Food52er who you may remember from our Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey contest!
WHAT: A subtly smoky bird that is swathed in sage and bacon before being served with a turkey neck gravy.
HOW: Wrap the turkey up in bacon, then the oven does the work for you. Ours roasted for 3 hours, and we removed it when the thigh meat read 160 on a thermometer.
WHY WE LOVE IT: With bacon and a bevy of herbs -- not to mention the onions and apples inside the bird -- this turkey is anything but one-dimensional in flavor.
The Editors

Serves 1 14 lb turkey

The Bird

  • 1 14 pounds turkey
  • 1 pound thick sliced bacon (You won't use the whole thing but when is extra bacon ever a bad thing? I use applewood smoked)
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 largeish yellow onion
  • 8-10 sage leaves
  • 1 leafy sprig of sage
  • several sprigs of marjoram
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  1. Heat the oven to 325. Remove the neck and giblets. I only use the neck for gravy but if you want to add giblets too I say go for it! Rinse the turkey inside and out. Liberally salt and pepper the inside. Put him on a rack in a turkey pan and tuck the wings behind his head. Or, where his head used to be.
  2. Cut the apple in 4, remove the core, the quarter each quarter. Peel the onion and cut it into similar sized pieces. Put the leafy sprig of sage, the marjoram, ad a few hunks of apple and onion inside the bird. Also hide a bit of apple and onion under the neck skin and tuck it in. Scatter the rest around the pan. Put the neck in the pan too.
  3. Generously pepper the turkey and then salt him too - the bacon adds salt too so don't go too crazy. Arrange the sage leaves across the breast and on each leg (see picture). Now lay strips of bacon all over the turkey so he is encased. I work the long way - you may need to trim some bacon to get him covered (see next picture) - don't forget the legs and wings! Pour the bottle of wine into the pan and pop him in the oven.
  4. You can now mostly relax for about three hours - the bacon is basting for you. Do check now and again and if it's getting too dry add some water to the pan. Once the bacon has cooked completely, it's job is done. Take the turkey out of the oven and remove the bacon. If some of it wants to stick, just leave it. Mostly it should come right off. Remove the neck from the pan and set both aside. Keep the kitchen vultures off the neck - whether or not you let them eat the bacon is up to you. Give the turkey a good basting and put him back in the oven to finish cooking. The common thought is thigh meat needs to be 180 - I stop before that (around 165-170) because it will keep cooking as it rests. My turkey took just under 4 hours. When he is finished cooking and golden brown, take him out and make the gravy while he rests.

The Gravy

  • 1 cooked turkey neck
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • 1/2 cup milk (maybe a bit more)
  • 1 cup turkey or chicken stock (maybe a bit more)
  • 2-3 tablespoons brandy (or sherry for a bit of a sweeter gravy)
  • drippings from the bacon bird
  • salt and pepper
  1. Pick the meat off the turkey neck and chop it up. You can also chop some of that crisp bacon if you want to, and if any is left.
  2. Get the drippings from the turkey pan and put them in a separator - I use a baster to make the transfer.
  3. Melt the butter in a sauce pan and whisk in the flour. Cook for a few minutes until it just starts to get a little golden. Whisk in the chopped sage. Now whisk the milk in slowly - it's going to get super thick - don't worry. Start whisking in the broth and brandy, and the gravy will relax again. Now start pouring in the drippings carefully from the separator (try not to get too much of the plain old fat in there - a little is OK) - this is where you add a little, whisk a little, taste a little. Decide if you want more salt and pepper, or maybe a bit more drippings or broth. Get the thickness the way you like it - this is your gravy not mine! Finally - stir in the chopped turkey neck (and giblets and bacon if you want) and stir until warm. That's it! Carve that turkey and serve up!

More Great Recipes: Chicken|Entrees

Topics: Thanksgiving

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Comments (71) Questions (1)


9 months ago alex hanifin

Hi- can't wait to make this. When you said it was 4 hours total, did that include the 3 hours with the bacon on it? Or did you do 3 hours with the bacon, take off the bacon, and then another 4 hours?


9 months ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hi Alex, 4 total - 3 with bacon and then an hour to finish and get golden - also remember times vary depending on the size of your bird and your oven so check temps as well!!!


9 months ago Micheline Cerillo

Im making this on Wednesday...Have looked at several recipes but this one sounds easy and can almost taste the Bacon-Turkey...Fingers crossed I dont mess this up


10 months ago Jesse Mojica

Excited to make this! Just a basic question, does the alcohol cook off?


10 months ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hi Jesse! It sure does!


10 months ago jake stavis

if i wanted to make this with a 20-22 lb bird, how long should i roast it?


10 months ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Unstuffed - 4-4.5 hours - Butterball has a chart (I can never remember):

And remember to let it rest, too!


10 months ago jake stavis

thank you! made this last year and it was a huge hit, hoping to pull off the same with a bigger bird


10 months ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

That's awesome! I am making it too - I am going to do an apple cider brine first to add one more layer of goodness. My bird is going to be 24 lbs so - yeah, big guy.


10 months ago Nhlakes Ximba

Omg, Can't wait to make this.


almost 2 years ago LINDA

I really wanted to try something different this year and can't wait to try this on Thursday! Thanks for the Awesome recipe!


over 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

This was an easy recipe to make - the kids and I gathered round the bird and draped it with bacon. Such fun.

But that wasn't all. In a week of Turkey many things, the left over bacon has served a great purpose: Malta-Maple Bacon Jam. No one wanted to eat the bacon, roasted as it was - it was a tad salty (usually we desalt our bacon by giving it a couple of hot-water soaks). Anyways, Bacon Jam had been on my mind for AGES and so it was.

And is.


See http://www.kitchenbutterfly...


almost 3 years ago Esther Gertrude

Really great turkey recipe. It was so nice to not have to baste but the one time.


almost 3 years ago VOS

My 15.5# turkey was done in 2.5 hours. After carving the large parts I did return them to the oven in some liquid just for a minute or two for the joints to be fully cooked. Also, I removed the bacon after one hour so it was still usable for other dishes. Other than that, great recipe.


almost 3 years ago JadeTree

We had so much fun with this bird! It was fun to prep; between the bacon wrapping and the bottle-of-wine-pouring, it felt like a holiday indeed. It cooked in about 3.5 hours, almost completely ignored, and the breast was exceptionally moist for the grateful white-meat eaters. Delicious gravy. We used sherry, which is a family tradition, and enjoyed the touch of sweet nuttiness. And it's just as tasty on the sandwich of leftovers, which is a crucial factor. The cooked bacon created two problems, however: it made people swarm the kitchen while we were trying to do the potato/parsnip mash and dressing ,and also one guest overindulged on stolen bacon and regretted a stomach still half full at dinner time. Food52 problems! Thanks for the new turkey for this year's holiday!


almost 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I love it! A regular turkey party!!!


almost 3 years ago tmajor

So excited to be making this bird tomorrow!!!!


almost 3 years ago PassTheKnife

Just swapped out my turkey recipe for this one!


almost 3 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Many congratulations - it looks fab!


almost 3 years ago Waverly

Congratulations, Abbie! This sounds fantastic.


almost 3 years ago selena

I must add a comment here in tribute to my father, an italian immigrant. He prepared our turkey like this since I can remember (50's) sans the apple. I use applewood smoked bacon nowadays.


almost 3 years ago Oui, Chef

You go girl! Everything is better when wrapped in bacon....the other other white meat.


almost 3 years ago LocalSavour

WOWZER This looks and sounds amazing! Congratulations on your fine win Abbie!


almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

YAY!!!! Congrats Abbie!


almost 3 years ago Meatballs&Milkshakes

Congrats! Sounds fantastic! Almost wish I was in charge of the cooking this Thanksgiving!


almost 3 years ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

sexyLAMBCHOPx is a trusted home cook.

Congrats, I would make this as well if I was doing the bird this year!


almost 3 years ago Sagegreen

Congrats!!! Well done.