Bacon Spatchcock Turkey with Veggies and Gravy will turn heads with its bold, bacon, buttery flavor! This tender, succulent roast turkey recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving and for Christmas. With delicious roasted veggies and a hearty gravy on the side, it’s a meal in itself!
Looking for more turkey recipes? Check out my Juicy Roast Turkey Recipe with Maple Gravy or my Instant Pot Turkey Breast Recipe.
Table of Contents
MY NEW FAVORITE WAY TO MAKE A JUICY THANKSGIVING TURKEY
I love cooking for the Holidays! When Thanksgiving rolls around, it’s so rewarding to realize that it’s that time of year again – time for big yummy casseroles, sumptuous desserts, mashed potatoes and gravy… and of course, a beautiful roast turkey.
Only, I have a new favorite way to make the turkey the true star of the show: spatchcocking. and bacon-wrapping. And, guess what? It’s easier, faster, and may just turn out a juicier Thanksgiving main course! What’s not to love?
WHAT IS SPATCHCOCK?
“Spatchcock” is a way of cutting out the bone from a whole chicken or whole turkey, so that it cooks more quickly and evenly. It’s not clear exactly where the name comes from, but it may be an old Irish word having to do with serving up a cleaned and cooked rooster.
To spatchcock a turkey, you first remove the backbone with a large sharp knife, cleaver, or kitchen shears. Then you open out the whole chicken, flat! In this way, the whole chicken can be grilled, or baked on a baking sheet, broiled, etc! Watch How To Spatchcock a Turkey.
For the Turkey and Veggies:
- Carrots, Celery, and Onions: These should be cut into large pieces.
- Fresh Rosemary and Thyme: For flavor and aroma.
- Fresh Garlic: Roughly chop the garlic.
- Olive Oil: For roasting the veggies. A light olive oil is preferable, because it has a higher smoke point.
- Bay Leaves: This recipe uses 2 bay leaves.
- Broth: You’ll need about 2 cups of low sodium chicken stock or chicken broth.
- Turkey: One 9 to 10 pound whole turkey, spatchcocked. Read below for how to spatchcock a turkey, or you can get one that’s already spatchcocked.
- Butter: You’ll need 2 tablespoons of melted butter, and 10 tablespoons of butter, cubed and brought to room temperature.
- Sea Salt and Pepper: To taste.
- Bacon: You’ll need somewhere between 20 to 30 slices; the number of slices will depend on the size of the turkey.
For the Gravy:
- Turkey Broth: Reserve 2 cups of the turkey cooking liquid.
- Flour: Just a tablespoon, for thickening.
- Butter: Combined with the flour, this makes a type of blond roux to give the gravy a thick texture.
- Salt and Pepper: To taste.
HOW TO SPATCHCOCK A TURKEY
- First, place the turkey on a cutting board, or your working surface, with the backbone facing UP.
- Using a pair of poultry scissors, start cutting around the backbone to remove it. There may be some areas that are harder to cut; in those cases, try using just the tips of the shears to cut slowly and with greater precision. (Note: the backbone and giblets can be saved for making broth or gravy!)
- Once the backbone is removed, turn over the turkey, breast side UP. Press down forcefully to flatten it. You should hear the breastbone crack as the turkey flattens out. The legs will be turned out to the sides.
HOW TO ROAST A SPATCHCOCK TURKEY
- Prepare the Oven, Pan, and Veggies. Preheat the oven to 425˚F. In a large roasting pan, add the carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and fresh herbs; drizzle with olive oil and stir to combine. Add the bay leaves and pour over the chicken stock. Set aside.
- Prepare the Turkey. Spatchcock the turkey, and then brush the turkey with the melted butter. Season with sea salt and pepper, tuck in the wings, and arrange the bacon slices all across the top of the turkey. Place the turkey in the roasting pan, over the veggies. Take the cubes of butter and arrange over the top of the turkey.
- Roast the Turkey. Roast until golden brown for about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours, basting with the cooking liquid every 20 to 30 minutes, until done. Use an Instant Read Thermometer to check for doneness. Turkey is cooked when internal temperature at the thigh registers at 165˚F to 170˚F.
- Rest the Turkey. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and transfer the turkey to a cutting board. Cover the turkey loosely with foil, and let it rest for 30 minutes before cutting. Transfer the roasted vegetables to a serving plate, and save the juices.
- Make the Gravy. To make the gravy, pour out the turkey pan juices into a heatproof bowl. (You will need 2 cups of pan juices. If you don’t have enough, just add some chicken broth or water to make 2 cups.) Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking frequently. Gradually whisk in the turkey pan juices; bring to a boil. Whisk for a minute, or two, or until thickened. Adjust the salt and pepper, and then pour the gravy into a gravy dish.
WHAT IS THE BEST TEMPERATURE TO ROAST A TURKEY?
- Different cooks have different opinions on this, but I recommend roasting at 425˚F, for a good evenly cooked turkey with lots of flavor, texture, and golden-brown coloring!
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN MY TURKEY IS DONE?
- The easiest and most reliable way to test for doneness is by using a good meat thermometer. Test the temperature in the thickest section of the thigh; it should be 165˚F to 170˚F.
TIPS FOR THE BEST SPATCHCOCK TURKEY
- Thaw in the Fridge: If you purchase a frozen turkey, be sure to allow plenty of time for it to safely thaw in the refrigerator. It takes between 2 and 3 days for a frozen 10-pound turkey to do so!
- Try Brining: If you have the extra time, you should definitely try brining the turkey in a salted water solution. This is a time-honored way of adding flavor and improving the texture of the turkey.
- Let It Rest: After roasting, be sure to let the turkey rest for 20 to 30 minutes. This allows the juices to stabilize in the meat, and it makes it easier to carve, too!
THANKSGIVING SIDES TO GO WITH YOUR TURKEY!
- Brussels Sprouts: I adore Brussels sprouts anytime, but they are especially perfect at the holidays, don’t you think? This killer Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples and Candied Walnuts will seriously wow your guests. Want something simpler? How about these simple and flavorful Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze?
- Casserole: Casseroles are both festive and comforting. I love this Butternut Squash and Rice Casserole, and my Broccoli Cheese Casserole is a total classic!
- Stuffing: Who doesn’t love stuffing? Whether you want an easy Traditional Stuffing, a seasonal Sweet Potato and Cranberry Stuffing, or a hearty and decadent Cheesy Italian Sausage Stuffing, there’s something here for everyone!
HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT LEFTOVERS
Leftover turkey is, let’s face it, one of the great things about making a huge turkey in the first place! Turkey Salad Sandwiches, Turkey and Wild Rice Casserole, Turkey Soup with Orzo and Spinach, and even a Leftover Turkey Frittata…The possibilities are endless, and delicious!
- To refrigerate: Carve and/or debone the turkey into slices and small pieces (you can leave the drumstick meat on the bone). Then wrap the turkey tightly, or place it in food storage bags, pushing out as much air as possible before sealing. Leftover turkey will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
- To freeze: Wrap leftover turkey slices, and pieces (no bones) tightly in freezer paper or plastic wrap. Then seal tightly in freezer bags. Frozen leftover turkey will keep for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
- To reheat: Place thawed leftover turkey in an ovenproof dish. Add a small amount of broth, stock, or gravy to moisten the turkey, cover with foil, and reheat for around 30 minutes at 350°F, or until heated through.
More Turkey Recipes
Tools Used in this Recipe
BACON SPATCHCOCK TURKEY WITH VEGGIES AND GRAVY
- 3 large carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 3 sticks celery, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 2 large yellow onions, each onion cut into 6 wedges
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 to 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 9 to 10 pounds whole turkey, spatchcocked - read below for how to spatchcock a turkey, or you can get one that’s already spatchcocked.
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 10 to 15 slices thick cut bacon, (number of slices will depend on surface size of turkey)
- 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature, cut into ½-tablespoon cubes
- 2 cups turkey cooking liquid
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425˚F.
- In a large roasting pan, add the carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and fresh herbs; drizzle with olive oil and stir to combine.
- Add bay leaves and pour over the chicken stock. Set aside.
- Spatchcock turkey: Place the turkey on a cutting board, or your working surface, with the backbone facing UP. Using a pair of poultry shears, start cutting around the backbone to remove it. You can also use a sharp knife.
- Once the backbone is removed, turn over the turkey, breast side UP, and press down forcefully to flatten it. You should hear the breastbone crack.
- Brush the turkey with the melted butter.
- Season with sea salt and pepper.
- Tuck in the wings.
- Arrange the bacon slices all across the top of the turkey.
- Place the turkey in the roasting pan, over the veggies. Make sure the wings are tucked under.
- Take the cubes of butter and arrange over the top of the turkey.
- Roast for 1-¼ to 1-¾ hours, basting with the cooking liquid every 20 to 30 minutes. Turkey is cooked through when internal temperature registers at 165˚F to 170˚F at the THIGH. Use an Instant Read Thermometer for accuracy. Start checking for doneness around the 80-minute mark.If the bacon starts to burn before the turkey is cooked through, lightly tent a piece of foil over the turkey and continue to roast until done.
- Remove roasting pan from oven; transfer turkey to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 30 minutes before cutting.
- Transfer roasted vegetables to a serving plate; DO NOT discard the juices.
- In the meantime, work on the gravy:
- Pour out the turkey pan juices into a heatproof bowl. I use my large glass measuring cup. You will need 2 cups of juices. If you don’t have enough, just add some chicken broth or water to make 2 cups, all together.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet set over medium-high heat.
- Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking frequently.
- Gradually whisk in the turkey pan juices; bring to a boil. Whisk for a minute, or two, or until thickened.
- Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly.
- Remove from heat and transfer to a gravy bowl.
- Transfer turkey to the serving platter with the veggies.
- Serve turkey with prepared gravy.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.