Beer Brined Bacon Roasted Turkey
It’s National Bacon Day and I’ve had trouble coming up with the perfect bacon recipe because it’s one of my favorite ingredients. I can’t think of many things that aren’t improved by bacon. This is the turkey I made for Christmas and it was the best one yet.
1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds (you can use 1/8 cup ground mustard as well)
2 Tablespoons black peppercorns
8 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
2 onions, wedged
1lb bacon, thick cut
Six 12 ounce bottles Guinness Stout
One 12-14 lb turkey
1 cup turkey or chicken stock
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon flour
1. In a very large pot, combine mustard seeds, peppercorns and bay leaves. Toast over moderate heat until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
Add the brown sugar and salt and remove from heat. Add 4 cups of water and stir until sugar dissolves. Add the Guinness and 16 cups cold water. Once mixture is cool enough, add onions and bacon. Stir to combine and add the turkey, breast side down and cover. Refrigerate 24 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lift turkey out of brine and pick off any peppercorns or bay leaves. Pat dry and put in a roasting pan. I like to use one with a small horizontal rack in it, but the V shaped racks work nicely also. Breast side goes up this time. Scatter the onion wedges around the pan and add 1 cup of water. (Note: This will seem like a good place to use some beer or the leftover brine, don’t do it. It’ll caramelize and burn to the bottom of your pan and screw up your gravy, water is good) Use toothpicks to secure pieces of bacon all over the turkey.
You’re ready to roast the turkey for 2 hours. Remove the bacon (save the bacon) and return the turkey to the oven to roast another hour.
3. Once your turkey is ready, transfer it to a carving board. Pour the pan juices into a saucepan and boil until reduced to 3 cups (about 5 minutes). Add the turkey stock and boil. In a small bowl, mash the butter and flour to a paste. Whisk the paste into the gravy and boil until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
3a. If you don’t have 3 cups of pan juices or like a thicker gravy, do this instead: Pour juices into a saucepan and whisk in 3 Tablespoons of flour. Add the stock and deglaze the pan (if necessary). Whisk until the gravy comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Add 1/2 cup milk and whisk until the gravy coats the back of a spoon, 5-10 minutes. Season to taste.
4. Serve with gravy and the bacon sliced up.