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How to Make a Beer Basted and Bacon Wrapped Turkey

An oven roasted turkey wrapped in bacon.
Emilee Unterkoefler

A fried or roasted turkey is kind of a big deal on Thanksgiving Day. There are plenty of ways to spruce it up and make heads turn, but by far, the best is to create a booze-based and bacon latticed turkey.

There’s a lot you can do to enhance flavor and attractiveness and transform your turkey from mediocre to magnificent. Here’s how to go from plain old turkey to a delicious bacon-and-beer turkey bursting with flavor.

How to Make Boozy Bacon Crusted Turkey

From creating a compound butter to weaving bacon strips and stuffing the turkey with aromatics, we’ll walk you through everything. Before we start cooking, let’s look at everything you’ll need to go from boring turkey to talk-of-the-table turkey.

Here’s a list of the ingredients you’ll need:

Now that you know just what you’ll need to make this fun roasted turkey, it’s time to delve into the steps for putting it all together.

Step One: Give Your Turkey a Good Butter Massage

Using both hands to rub a compound butter under and over the skin of a turkey.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Start by placing the turkey in a roasting pan over a roaster rack. Elevating the turkey on a rack does two things; it promotes even cooking and will allow your beer and turkey drippings to come up and steam the turkey, which will help create moist and tender results.

Mix a stick of room-temperature butter with about six tablespoons of roasted garlic and herb seasoning (We always use McCormick) and about two or three tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs. Mix until you’ve created a compound butter. 

Circulon Nonstick Roasting Pan with Rack

This pan will get you by for many years of Thanksgiving dinner.

Using your hand, carefully separate the skin of your turkey from the meat, then slide in some of your herbed butter and rub it all over the meat. Do the same right over the skin.

Rubbing your turkey down with homemade compound butter is an essential step to making a flavorful roasted turkey. It adds a rich depth of flavor and will help create that gorgeous golden exterior.

Step Two: Craft a Bacon-Wrapped Lattice

An image of a bacon weaved lattice topping over a large thanksgiving turkey.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Not only does a bacon-wrapped turkey look stunning, but the salt and fat-filled pork adds tremendous flavor too.

If you can make a lattice pie top, then you can make a bacon lattice over your turkey as well. Lay about four or five strips of bacon vertically from the front of the turkey to the back, leaving one inch of space between each.

Fold back every other strip, and then place one long piece of bacon perpendicular to the others. Place the folded strips back down and continue this process with the opposite parallel strips until you’ve reached a lovely lattice pattern. If you have any bacon leftover, wrap one piece over each leg.

Step Three: Add Some Oomph with Aromatics

Onion, carrots and celery added inside of the turkey for both embelishment, and flavorful aromatic addition.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Aromatics (like mirepoix) make for the perfect fragrant touch to any roasted turkey or chicken dinner. Quarter your onions, peel the carrots and slice the celery sticks, then stuff them right inside the cavity of your poultry.

You’ll also want to embellish your turkey with fresh herbs. You can usually purchase a bundle of fresh holiday herbs in the produce aisle around this time of year, and they typically include fresh sage, thyme, and rosemary.

Be sure to save a few sprigs of fresh herbs to garnish your carved turkey right before serving. The additional hues of green make a lovely display.

Finally, slice the top off each head of garlic, and place each head alongside the turkey before putting it in the oven. You’ll be using the hot roasted garlic for the gravy, and you’ll have plenty left to add to your mashed potatoes too.

Step Four: Booze It Up With A Bottle of Beer

Pouring a cold beer inside the cavity of the turkey.
Emilee Unterkoefler

We’re pretty sure the beer talk earlier caught your eye, so here’s the scoop. Adding liquid to your roasting pan is a sure way to keep that turkey moist, tender, and juicy.

You are more than welcome to use water or stock, as this is the traditional liquid used in this cooking process, but come on—beer.

A Belgian-style wheat beer like Allagash pairs really well with turkey or chicken, as the coriander and orange peel notes make a lovely citrussy addition to the roast. Any craft brew of your choice will provide a new and fun flavor, so we say go with something you already love.

We’ve tried many, including Samuel Adams Octoberfest, George Killians Irish Red, and even Budweiser one year. Over the years, cooking with beer, we’ve learned that light beers are great for beer batters, while darker ales like porters or stouts taste best with beefy stews and braises.

The turkey drippings, infused with a bubbly beer with loads of garlic, create an intensely flavored gravy later. We also recommend pouring straight-up drippings right over your carved turkey before serving. It’s a tried and true method that will wow your guests every. single. time.

Step Five: Time to Roast that Turkey

A turkey placed in the oven.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Everyone has their show-stopping method for cooking the perfect Thanksgiving turkey. Some deep fry, while others swear by brining first. Now that you know how we prepare our turkey for crowd-pleasing results, here’s how we use the oven to cook it up.

Cover the turkey and roasting pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil and roast for one hour, then remove the roasting pan out of the oven, and remove the foil.

Use a baster to baste your turkey with the boozy drippings, then place back into the oven uncovered. From there, you’ll want to remove the turkey every 30 minutes to baste.

OXO Angled Turkey Baster and Cleaning Brush

Just what you need to baste your turkey with all that boozy flavor.

Once the bacon starts to crisp up, remove it and stuff it into the cavity along with the aromatics. Keep basting your turkey every 30 minutes until it is well done.

The amount of time you will cook your turkey in the oven depends on how much it weighs. So, take a look at this handy butterball calculator that will tell you exactly how long your turkey needs to roast in the oven based on weight. These calculations are specific to baking at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

The very best way to ensure you have cooked your turkey to a safe internal temperature is by using a meat thermometer. When the temperature reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s ready.

Let your turkey rest, then carve it right before you plan to serve to guests. Once you’ve carved the turkey, drizzle additional garlic and beer-infused pan drippings over the turkey to create moist and flavorful results in every bite.

We hope you love this recipe as much as my family has over the last several years! This Thanksgiving, be sure to snap an insta-worthy pic and tag us on Instagram or Facebook so we can see your gorgeous culinary works of art!

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
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