**Today’s much anticipated guest post is brought to you by Mr. Libby (AKA Rick). I have finally convinced him to share his top secret turkey recipe (it wasn’t easy)…and just in time for Thanksgiving!* Ah, Thanksgiving! A time for giving thanks and spending quality time with loved ones. You know what I love? Turkey! Oh, and don’t forget bacon! Moist, succulent, melt in your mouth Turkey along with maple flavored bacon. Know what I don’t love… a dried out turkey. I also love my mother-in-law (who is probably reading this. Sorry in advance mom :* ), but she can’t cook a turkey! Well, she can now, with this recipe!
After many Thanksgiving dinners at my in-laws, I decided to take a big step. I decided to take over Thanksgiving dinner and that meant cooking the turkey. I’m not going to lie, I was freaking out. Everyone loved mom’s turkey, so there were big expectations to be met. I needed to make sure that this turkey would win everyone over with one flavourful bite.
After some extensive research (thanks google!), I came up with this winner. The secret to a moist turkey is to keep the juices locked in. Adding some delicious grass-fed butter, infused with fresh sage, then smothered over the turkey breast ensures that the meatiest part of the bird doesn’t dry out. Adding layers of bacon on top of that, ensures the heat is trapped in to keep that area moist and tender. Maple syrup just enhances all the flavours and makes that bacon oh so desirable. We literally never add enough. No seriously, we fight over that last piece of bacon every, single, time.
Well, I can practically hear Libby telling me to get on with it, so enough rambling. Let’s get cooking!
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter - softened to room temperature
- 1 bunch of fresh sage - finely chopped (add more or less to your liking)
- 1 (12 lbs) organic or free range turkey
- 8 strips of organic or pastured-raised bacon strips
- 1/2 cup maple syrup Coombs Family Farms 100% Pure Organic Maple Syrup, Grade B, 32-Ounce
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Remove one of the oven racks and ensure that your roasting pan will be in the middle of your oven.
- Place the butter and sage in a mixing bowl and use a fork to incorporate the sage. You can add some salt here if your butter is unsalted. Set aside.
- Rinse your turkey well. Also be sure to rinse out the cavity, then dry the bird. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper inside the cavity and generously rub the outside of the turkey with some extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle some more salt and pepper to taste, making sure to cover the entire turkey.
- Place turkey in roasting pan. *I usually like to add some chopped up veggies (carrots, onions, etc) and place the turkey on top. This is optional. If you don't, make sure you have a roasting rack to place the turkey on in the pan. This will make sure the turkey doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Now, this next step is crucial. Lift the skin from the turkey breast carefully. You want to make sure to separate it from the entire breast. Split your sage butter in half. Take half, warm it up in your hands, then slide it under the skin. Make sure you cover as much of the breast as possible. Really work it in, this is essential!
- If you are going to stuff your turkey, this would be the time to add the stuffing.
- Now grab the delicious bacon and shingle the strips over the breast. You want to make sure it is fully covered. You can start from the bottom of the breast and work your way to the top. Remember, you probably won't have enough. So don't be afraid to add more 😉 Truss the turkey by crossing the legs over one another and tie off with kitchen twine.
- You can cover the turkey with aluminum foil, or place the lid on the roasting pan if it's a big pan or a smaller turkey. Now place that thing in the oven and start the timer.
- While the turkey is cooking, mix the maple syrup with 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. The water helps thin out the maple syrup. Now, baste the turkey every 30 minutes with the maple glaze. For the first glazing, I pour the glaze out of the bowl and cover the whole turkey.
- About a 1/2 hour before the turkey should be done, remove the roasting pan lid or foil. This will help brown the turkey. If you like your turkey skin crispy, you can remove the bacon from the breast to brown that area and crisp it up.
- Use a meat thermometer to determine when your turkey is done. For an unstuffed turkey, use 15 minutes a pound. 18 minutes for stuffed. If you are stuffing the turkey, the stuffing in the cavity should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Check for a temperature of 170 degree F in the breast and 180 degree F in the thigh. A great cooking chart can be found at about.com.
- Once finished, place the turkey on your serving tray and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before you carve it up. This is key as it lets the juices reabsorb.
- Take any left over juices and add to your gravy if you'd like a maple flavoured gravy.
- Stuffing-gate alert! Warning, if you baste your stuffing with the juices from the pan during cooking, it will have a maple flavour. It's up for debate on the taste (I love it). If you don't want that, you can let the turkey cook for an hour and just baste with the natural juices first (make sure to add that to the stuffing). From then on, you can use the maple glaze to baste the turkey.