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Using bacon on your roast turkey

I came across some tidbits where people were swearing by putting bacon strips across the breast of their turkey (actually, I think there's something like that on the 'neo-slacker's guide to thanksgiving' on this site, but it doesn't really work well on my browser here).

Has anyone tried this? It seems to be the general idea that you place the strips on the breast and then remove them in the final 30 mins or so. Does this make the turkey bacon-y? How well does it work?

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  1. personally I wouldn't use bacon or anything that will overwelm or dilute the flavor of the turkey. Sides are a differant story though most of my family and friends are returning to "simply made " salt ,pepper with maybe butter and evo on the side.Long Island's produce this time of year is pretty good just roasted (beets and brussel sprouts etc) roasted yams in the skins (burnt a little) add to the fragrance through out the house and for us no marshmellows

    1 Reply
    1. re: scunge

      So does that mean you haven't tried it? :)

      I'm mainly curious to know exactly what sort of effect it has.

    2. A couple of years ago, the skin on the top of my turkey split when I was placing my butter/garlic/herb mixture under the skin. I tried "sewing" it with some bamboo skewers, but that didn't work, so I ended up putting some bacon strips on top so the breast would not dry out. It was actually a wonderful turkey dinner. The kind I might make in the middle of February. It does impart a smoky/bacon flavor. It is not a negative, but I like to keep Thanksgiving closer to traditional.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Springhaze2

        How strong was the extra flavor. I am of the camp that thinks that nothing with bacon can possibly be bad, but also like yourself like traditional flavors for t-day. If it was 'just a hint' though, I'd probably end up really liking it.

        1. re: jgg13

          I only used a couple of slices of bacon where the skin was split. I also baste with the drippings while the turkey was cooking and made a gravy with the drippings. It tasted really great and everybody raved. However, I also have some very traditional family members (especially my father) who continue to "mock" me about my "gourmet" food and are reluctant (spelling?) to have Thanksgiving at my house, because it is not traditional enough.

          So I guess it depends on your tastes and who you are feeding. It also depends on your access to really great turkey. I happen to live within a mile of a turkey farm, and our family is pretty spoiled in what we expect our turkey to taste like.

      2. I have done it with Chickens and it works great - I can see it working well on turkey -

        1. I did it last year and while the turkey tasted OK, it ruined the gravy. I'm trying pancetta this year since the only bacon I have right now is jalapeno flavored, and I wouldn't buy some specially for this.
          Never used to use meat on top, I'm just playing around with it, it came out great last year but it was probably more due to the compound herbed butter under the skin than anything.

          1. I did it last year and won't do it again. I didn't like the smoky flavor it imparted to the turkey breast. My guests didn't seem to mind, though. I prefer a more traditional flavor for Thanksgiving.

            1. Years ago, the first time I made Thanksgiving dinner for my extended family of 28, I roasted a turkey breast, rather than a whole turkey, because I was also roasting a capon. (Old days - turkey allergy - gone now - yay!) Anyway, my butcher wrapped the breast in fat-back because he said it would keep it moist and flavorful. I made the gravies for both the turkey and the capon the same way, based on the pan drippings, added chicken broth, a hit of bourbon, a little fresh thyme and some butter at the end. The smokey drippings had a beneficial effect on the flavor of the turkey gravy, I'm told. (I couldn't taste it.) In fact, my husband has told me that he's never tasted better.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Deenso

                Recipe and pictures is on chow.com

                http://www.chow.com/recipes/11130

                Looks real healthy.

              2. We've cooked turkey with bacon a lot. We've tucked some under the skin on the breasts as well as layering strips of bacon over the skin on top and the legs. It helps to baste as it';s cooking. We taste a slight bacon taste, thats all.

                We've switched to orange slices, which we like better. Jucier too.

                1. i've used bacon a bunch of times. i think it really depends on the level smokiness in the bacon you buy. i can never really taste the bacon since i tend to use a less smokey version on the trukey. another way of doing it is putting your butter-herb mixture onto some tin-foil and placing that over the breasts. cook it with the tin-foil for about an hour then remove to get the skin crisp. works everytime just as well as the bacon.

                  1. We have always draped the turkey with bacon and left it on for the entire cooking period. While the turkey is resting, we munch on the bacon. Do not have to baste at all and everything tastes good. Four diff family members have cooked our holiday turkeys over the years and we have had a nice, moist bird EVERY time!