Ah the holidays. What a wonderful time! If you live in the United States, memories of Christmas and Thanksgiving probably revolve around turkey. Whether you’re a turkey lover or you’re thrilled that the dog ate the turkey (true story) – it’s a hallmark for many. However, just because you grew up enjoying (or tolerating) turkey during the holidays – this doesn’t guarantee you actually know how to cook it. Most don’t even know how to cook a whole chicken and a turkey can seem much more intimidating. That doesn’t even take into account all of the confusing labels. But don’t stress – we’ve got you covered! Today we’re going to share with you the basics behind how to cook a turkey, but with an added twist. I promise this doesn’t make it any more difficult – but having a bacon wrapped turkey does make it that much more delicious!
How to Cook a Turkey
Thaw Your Turkey
Now to start out, you need to decide when you’re purchasing your turkey if it’s going to be purchased fresh or frozen. While a turkey being fresh or frozen really doesn’t compromise the meat, it can lead to more preparation. If you’re wondering how long it will take to thaw your bird the USDA has you covered! They have charts for different types of thawing by weight.
Separate Turkey Parts for Gravy
After unwrapping your turkey you may have to cut apart the legs bound by twine/plastic/etc. Next you’re going to peer down into it’s torso. This is most likely where you will find the giblets, neck, etc. We choose to dispose of the giblets but some choose to make giblet gravy with them!
The neck was kept to make turkey gravy.
We also chose to cut off the tail at this point and add it to the gravy pile. You’ll want to boil these in chicken broth seasoned with salt and pepper with celery. You would like the broth to reduce down by about two-thirds.
Remove all of the turkey parts and celery.
Mix cooking oil and flour in a mug until it thickens then pour into hot turkey broth . Whisk quickly until it is thick and the texture is consistent.
If you find that your gravy is not thick enough after a few minutes you’ll need to add more cooking oil and flour.
Prepare the Roaster
You’ll need to put together the roaster at this point. There are usually just a few pieces. The rack will be placed in the bottom of the roaster. Make sure to adequately grease the rack and bottom and walls of the roaster before cooking the turkey.
Prepare the Bacon Wrapped Turkey
Next, you’ll place the turkey in the roaster. Because of it’s size it may be clumsy and slick, be sure to hang on as well as you can!
At this point tuck the wings underneath the turkey, or at least prevent them from being placed where they are touching the walls of the roaster (they can burn easily).
Now you’ll be seasoning the turkey. After coating it in cooking spray (to make the meat crispy and golden) season it amply with black pepper, salt, onion powder and garlic powder!
Next, top it in bacon until all of the surfaces are covered. Bam – you have a bacon wrapped turkey!
Then you will pour lots of chicken broth in the roaster, nobody likes a dry turkey. I would give you our cooking time, however, your turkey may weigh differently than mine did, so you’ll need to adjust yours. You can find the amount of time you can roast it by weight here!
After you’ve checked that your turkey is a minimum of one hundred and sixty five degrees Fahrenheit via a thermometer in the thickest parts you’re good to enjoy!
Don’t forget the best way to enjoy turkey is with Granny O’s Cornbread Dressing, Best Fresh Cranberry Sauce and of course Easy Homemade Mashed Potatoes and Easy Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese. Also, Christmas and Thanksgiving calls for the BEST holiday dinners featuring my grandmother’s famous Mini Chocolate Cream Pies.
Thanks for reading!