Here are a couple of key pointers and below you will find the recipe as well as a guide to how big a turkey you need depending on how many people you are feeding & also how long you will need to cook it for.
- Get a meat thermometer - this will become your best friend in the kitchen when it comes to cooking meat - it will mean no more undercooked meats & help you to cook the meat perfectly each time
- get the longest rashes of bacon you can - preferably free range & smoked (real smoked)
- you can wrap your turkey in bacon up to 2 days before you are needing to cook it, just wrap it and place it in the fridge & then 2 hours prior to cooking you will need to take it out to bring it to room temperature
- make sure you rest the turkey for at least 30 minutes before carving. This will let the juices settle and keep the meat moist! While it is resting you can use this time to put those cooking juices that are in the bottom of your pan to good use and make a gravy.
- The sheer size of a turkey means that it can take up the whole of a standard domestic oven, leaving no room for roasting the vegies you plan to serve with it. If this is the case, cook your vegetables, separately, first. Once done, cover them with foil and set aside while you cook the turkey. Then, while the turkey is resting, return the oven shelves to their original positions and increase the temperature. Uncover the vegetables and return to the oven until heated through.
- To store leftover turkey, allow it to cool slightly. Remove all of the meat from the carcass and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. You can also use the carcass to make stock. To freeze leftover turkey meat, wrap in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container. Label, date and freeze for up to a month. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Guide to Turkey Weights & Cooking Times
Size No of Thawing Time Cooking Time For a non-stuffed bird- check the internal temperature
Serves in Fridge for Stuffed Bird about half an hour earlier than stuffed time.
3.5-4.5kg 4-6 2 - 2.5 Days 1.5 - 2 Hours
4.5-5.5kg 6-8 3 Days 3 - 3.5 Hours
5.5-6.5kg 8-10 3 - 3.5 Days 4.5 - 5 Hours
6.5-7.5kg 10-12 3.5 Days 6 - 6.5 Hours
Turkey Wrapped in Bacon
What you'll need:
For the bacon butter:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 slices of thick-cut bacon, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
For the turkey:
1 (5-7kg) turkey, thawed if frozen
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered (or use green leeks if LOW FODMAP)
1 22 slices thick-cut bacon
Measuring cups and spoons
Roasting rack (or something to keep the turkey off the bottom of the roasting pan)
Kitchen twine (optional)
- Thaw the turkey. If your turkey is frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator. For a 5-7kg turkey, this will take about 3 days, estimating 10 hours of thaw time for each kg of turkey.
- Make the bacon butter. Place all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse until smooth. This can be done up to 3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator, but bring the butter back to room temperature before rubbing down the turkey.
- Prepare the turkey and rub with the bacon butter. Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey's cavity. Save the neck for making stock and the giblets for making gravy. Set the turkey breast-side up on a roasting rack set inside a roasting pan. Liberally rub the turkey inside and out with the bacon butter. Put the onion/leek pieces in the cavity of the turkey. Tie the turkey's legs together with a piece of kitchen twine, if desired.
- Wrap the legs and wings with bacon. Wrap each leg with 2 slices of bacon. Wrap each wing with 1 slice of bacon, tucking the ends underneath the bird or in the crease between the leg and the breast.
- Weave the bacon blanket. Lay 8 slices of bacon side by side on a piece of parchment or waxed paper. Make sure the slices are as close together as possible. Working from the bottom up, weave another 8 slices of bacon into the first layer. Again, make sure these slices are as close together as possible.
- Blanket the turkey breast. Place the woven bacon onto the turkey breasts: Set the piece of paper next to the roasting pan and line the bacon blanket up at an angle to create a diamond. Carefully flip the paper over the turkey breast. Don't worry about aligning it perfectly — you will still be able to move the blanket a little once you get it into place. Remove the parchment and tuck the blanket in and around the breast and into the leg crease. Trim any excessive overhanging bacon with scissors, if desired.
- Bring the bird to room temperature. You can make the bird from start to finish in 1 day or refrigerate the bacon-wrapped bird overnight. Either way, the bird should sit at room temperature for 2 hours before roasting.
- Roast the bird. Arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven, remove any racks above it, and heat to 220°C. Pour 2 cups of water into the roasting pan underneath the turkey. This will create steam in the oven and prevent the bacon from rapidly shrinking and falling off the bird. Roast the turkey for 30 minutes to darken and crisp the skin.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C and roast until the turkey it reaches 75°C. Roast for an additional 2 to 2 1/2 hours. The rule of thumb for cooking a turkey is 20 mins per kg + 90 mins, but more important than time is the temperature of the turkey. Use a probe thermometer to test the turkey in 3 places: the breast, the outer thigh, and between the thigh and breast. The turkey should reach 75°C in all 3 places.
- Rest for 30 minutes and then carve: Carefully remove the turkey and the roasting rack to a cutting board or rimmed baking sheet. Rest the turkey for at least 30 minutes before carving. Use the drippings to make gravy, if desired. Just as you would carve a chicken or plain turkey, start by removing the turkey's legs before carving the breasts. To keep the bacon intact, cut through the bacon first and then carve the breast beneath. Serve the turkey with any of the bacon crumbles that may fall off the bird as you carve.