Thanksgiving Turkey, etc.

A collection of recipes from family, friends, and my personal library.

Baxter’s Turbacon

by Baxter Reecer

Ingredients
  • 1 16 pound turkey (12-20lb works for this recipe just fine as well)
  • 2lbs of bacon (or so…better to have too much than not enough. I really like peppered bacon for a pre-dinner crispy snack.)
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • Aromatic Vegetables – I like yellow onion, carrot, apples, and celery
  • Baking Powder
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper 
  • 2 sticks of salted butter
  • 10 sprigs of thyme 
  • 10 sprigs of tarragon
  • 10 sprigs of rosemary
  • 10 sprigs of sage
Tools
  • Roasting pan
  • Heavy duty aluminum foil
Directions

The night before you plan to cook, combine one part baking powder with three parts kosher salt. Add a few twists of black pepper, and sprinkle the mixture over the surface of the skin. Cover all parts of the bird, and let it rest, uncovered, in the refrigerator overnight, no longer than 24 hours. This step can be skipped, but it will help salt to reach the inner parts of the bird and also help maintain crispy skin.

The next morning, make sure you start early enough according to the cooking directions that came with your bird. I’ve found that a 16 pound turkey typically takes me about 3.5 hours to cook, with another 30 minutes for prep and 30 minutes for resting. Chop 2 springs of every herb and mix well with softened butter. Season with pepper. Rinse and rough chop all aromatic vegetables.

Set the oven to 425. Rinse the turkey inside and out and pat completely dry. Starting at the neck with a gloved hand, slide your hand under the skin and fully separate the skin from the meat to loosen the skin. Use half of the herb butter and rub it evenly underneath the skin. It may look uneven in spots but don’t worry, it will melt. Rub the remaining butter on the outside of the skin, reserving a tablespoon of butter for later. Stuff the turkey with your aromatics and leftover sprigs of herbs. It doesn’t take much, and stuffing too much will increase your cooking time and dry out your bird.

Place the turkey in a roasting pan (breast side facing up) and lay strips of bacon across the bird, leg to leg, as tightly as you can. Now starting on one side, weave in a vertical strip of bacon, doing your best to keep it tight and neat. The sides of the bird are difficult, but you want it to look like the turkey has been draped in bacon. It can also be easier to make the weave on a plate, and then drape it onto the turkey, trimming any excess. With any leftover bacon, you can also cover the legs or wings if you want, however I find this makes the dark meat too heavy. Before placing the turkey in the oven, use some heavy duty aluminum foil and make a triangle that covers all of the breast meat and most of the bacon. Place the chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting pan along with any leftover aromatic vegetables, and place the turkey into the oven.

After the first 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350 and check the bacon – if it looks cooked and is starting to dry out, cover the breast areas of the bird with foil. Every 30 minutes, check to make sure that no parts of the turkey or bacon are burning, and that there is liquid in the bottom of the pan. When a thermometer into the thigh, not touching bone, reads 165 (yes, you HAVE to use a thermometer), remove the bacon and toss it (or eat it…have an adventure) and let the skin of the turkey crisp up over the last bit of cooking, watching to make sure the skin does not get too dark. When the temp hits 175, pull the turkey and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

A word of advice – the reason this recipe is great is not because you get to eat the bacon, but because it “auto-bastes” the breast meat for the duration of the cook, and helps hold in moisture while dripping out fat onto the part of the turkey that typically gets too dry. This means that your liquid in the bottom of the pan will have a TON of bacon fat in it. Be careful making gravy with it, as you do not need any additional butter!

***Warning: this may not be the prettiest bird ever, and I suggest you serve it carved. If you want a nice presentation, leave the bacon on the turkey when you take it to the table.***

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Honey & Sriracha Glazed Turkey Breast

by Maruka Reecer

If you’re having a smaller get together, a turkey breast will be more than enough to feed 4-6 people. There is no reason to stress over an entire bird, but you do lose that delicious dark meat!

Ingredients
  • Turkey Breast (This will still have bones and skin.)
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup sriracha
  • salt
Directions

Wash your THAWED turkey breast. Pat dry and season with salt. Melt butter and mix with honey and sriracha. Using a basting brush, paint the glaze over the entire turkey.

Place in a 325 degree oven for two hours, basting every 30 minutes. The general rule with poultry is 20 minutes per pound, but definitely check with a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast for that golden 165 degree temp. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Carve and serve!

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You Don’t HAVE To Have Turkey!

Glaze a precooked, pre-sliced ham!

Be thankful for King Crab…or Snow Crab…or Lobster!

Poach Halibut, Stuff a Salmon or Trout…get out of your comfort zone! (Just like 2020 has forced you to do!)

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