Thanksgiving - It's Turkey Time

A good friend of mine requested my maple bacon turkey recipe, so I figured this was a sign from the blogging gods that I need to make a post. Now, the key, in my opinion, to a juicy turkey is a brine. For the record, dry turkey should be a crime punishable by death, so in order to avoid this, you should give brining a try.


3/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 tablespoon juniper berries
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into small pieces
6 star anise
4 cloves
6 dried bay leaves
1 orange, lemon, or lime, sliced into thin strips or 3 tbsp of dried zest
sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary, and/or sage
1 10 to 12 pound turkey

1. Place the salt and sugar in a medium saucepan and add 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.

2. Once the salt and sugar are dissolved, turn off the heat and add the remaining spices and herbs. Set aside and let cool.

Note: You MUST cool down the brine before you submerge your turkey for sanitary reasons, I recommend cooling in with a bowl of ice underneath or putting it in a sink of ice. If you need to use the brine immediately, reduce the amount of water used in step one to 1 cup and use 2 cups of ice.

3. In a large pot (big enough to hold the turkey and brine), place a cleaned turkey breast down into the pot and pour cold brine liquid to cover. If you don't have enough liquid, add water to cover. Place a heavy lid or plate to ensure that the turkey stays submerged. Refrigerate the turkey in the brine for 1 day minimum.

In my house we never have enough room in the fridge to hold the pot, so I brine the turkey in my garage or backyard shed. Believe me it is always cold enough so that there is never a temperature issue.

4. When you are ready to cook the turkey, remove the turkey, rinse and pat the turkey dry. Roast according to your favourite recipe or try mine below

Maple Bacon Turkey

3 cups of maple syrup
1 lb of thick cut applewood bacon
salt and pepper

1. In a saucepan, heat 2 cup of the maple syrup until it has reduced by half. Set aside and place in a jar with a basting brush.

2. Marinate the bacon in the remaining 1 cup of maple syrup for at least 1 hour. *This can be done the day before*

3. Season the turkey and cavity with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Lightly baste the turkey with the reduced maple syrup glaze.

5. Roast at 350°F degrees.

*The cooking time will vary depending on the weight of your turkey

Unstuffed (time in hours)

4 to 6 lb breast..........1 1/2 to 2 1/4
6 to 8 lb breast..........2 1/4 to 3 1/4
8 to 12 lbs.......................2 3/4 to 3
12 to 14 lbs......................3 to 3 3/4
14 to 18 lbs................3 3/4 to 4 1/4
18 to 20 lbs................4 1/4 to 4 1/2
20 to 24 lbs......................4 1/2 to 5

6. Check turkey periodically, about every 30 min and baste turkey with juices and maple syrup glaze. When there is only 1 hr left of roasting, cover entire turkey breast and legs with the maple
syrup marinated bacon.

Cover and continue roasting. Remove foil for last 30 min of roasting to allow bacon to brown. Cook until internal temperature of the turkey in the leg reaches 160°F. According to most health agencies, you need 165°F, but if you remove your turkey at 160°F, it will still continue to cook when you remove it.

7. Let the turkey rest before serving and then viola...

Bon Appétit