Brined Bacon Wrapped Turkey Magic with Gravy

Prep: 1 hr / Cook: 1 hr 30 min / Total: 24 hrs / Servings: 12

IngredientsCaloriesFatProteinCarbsFiberSA'sNet Carbs
1 whole 20-lb. (9080g)  turkey, boned (save the bones)820841210480000
1/4 cup (43g)  liquid fat (ghee, bacon fat, olive oil, etc.), divided477.55400000
2 gallons (7570g)  water, divided0000000
4 medium (244g)  carrots, cut into rough 1/2-inch [1 cm] pieces0000000
3 small (330g)  onions, chopped and divided0000000
4 stalks (202g)  celery, cut into rough 1/2-inch [1 cm] pieces0000000
3 each (3g)  bay leaves, divided0000000
1 1/2 tbsp (9g)  coarsely cracked black pepper, divided0000000
1 bunch (28g)  sage23.6.61.824.02.5903.43
1/2 cup (124g)  kosher salt (or 1/4 cup [60 mL] table salt)0000000
8 each (24g)  garlic cloves, crushed0000000
1 tsp (1g)  fresh thyme leaves0000000
4 cups (868g)  ice cubes0000000
butchers twine0000000
1 tbsp (8g)  tapioca flour25006.5006.5
1 tsp (5g)  'Swerve' or other sugar replacement0005050
1/2 tsp (3g)  xanthan gum10002.342.3400
salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste0000000
Per Serving:728.6838.88g87.49g1.49g0.24g0.42g0.83g *


  1. The day before you plan to serve this turkey... Make sure you have a boned turkey (bones and all), all set and ready to go. If you don’t, you’ll need a raw turkey. Remove its bones. See video, in notes above. Then, pre-heat an oven to 350 F (177 C).
  2. Grease the surface a roasting pan with about 1 tbsp (15 mL) fat. Additionally, coat the turkey bones and neck with another 2 tbsp (30 mL) fat. Place the bones evenly on the roasting pan and place into the hot oven. This will give the turkey stock a bolder roasted flavor that won’t come from just the raw bones. Roast for about 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, turn the bones over, to roast the other side. After a further 30 minutes, check the turkey bones. The goal is a nice golden roasted color. If the bones are still pale, flip them and roast for another 20 minutes. Continue in this manner, until the bones are golden in color (don’t go too dark, though. It imparts a bitter flavor).
  4. Once the bones are golden, remove them and place into another large pot (this one holding upwards of 2 gallons [7.5 L]). Cover the bones with water, to completely cover them... depending on the size of bird, this will be roughly 1 1/2 gallons (5.7 L) of water. Place the pot on the stove over medium heat.
  5. Deglaze the roasting pan. To the degree that is possible, place the roasting pan over the top of a hot burner or two and add roughly 1 cup (240 mL) of water. (You could use a bit of white wine, if you’d like. I didn’t, but it’s not a terrible idea at this point). Swirl the water or wine around the bottom of the pan. With a wooden spoon or spatula scrape the brown bits (the fond) off the bottom of the pan and swirl it into the liquid. When all the brown bits are removed from the bottom of the pan and you have a murky brown liquid in the pan, add this liquid gold to the bigger pot of turkey broth.
  6. Once the big pot of turkey broth begins to simmer, turn the heat down to low. Simmer for about 3 hours. About every 30 minutes, use a large spoon or ladle to skim and remove any fat or funk that may be accumulating on the top of the pot. Discard the funk.
  7. After 3 hours, place a large sauté pan on the stove over high heat. Add a little more fat (about 1 tbsp [15 mL]). Add the carrots and coat with the fat in the pan. Cook the carrots until they start to develop a little golden color.
  8. Once the carrots have a bit of golden color, add 2 small diced onions to the pan. Add a small amount of salt and toss the onions and carrots in the pan. Cook. Stir and cook until the onions start to caramelize.
  9. Once the onions start to caramelize, add the browned carrots and onions to the turkey bone broth. Additionally, add the celery, 1 bay leaf and 1/2 tbsp (7 mL) of cracked black pepper. Also, remove the leaves from the bunch of sage and reserve for later. Add the stems to the turkey broth. Allow this mixture to simmer for a further 90 minutes. Continue skimming the top and discarding the funk.
  10. About now is when I make the brine. In a large pot (large enough for a gallon [3.75 L] of liquid), bring 3 cups (720 mL) of water to a boil.
  11. Add the 1/2 cup (120 mL) kosher salt. Whisk the water, until the salt dissolves.
  12. Remove the water from the heat and add the garlic, thyme, remaining coarsely chopped onion, 2 bay leaves, and 1 tbsp (15 mL) cracked black pepper. Allow the warm mixture to sit for about 15 minutes.
  13. Add enough water to your ice to create 5 cups (1.2 L) of ice water. Add to the brine. Make sure the brine is cold. Set the brine in the fridge.
  14. Back to the stock... After a total of roughly 5 hours (3 1/2 with just the bones and a further 1 1/2 with the veggies) strain the bones and veggie vittles out of the stock, so that you have only a super tasty stock. I may strain it a second time through a fine sieve of cheesecloth, if it’s got little pieces of herb or flecks of pepper. It’s up to you. It’ll be roughly 1 gallon (3.75 L), at this point. Discard the bones and vittles. Typically, I put the stock in the fridge, at this point. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce it by half, though. You can do that now, or tomorrow. For this writing, however, I’m going to suggest it goes in the fridge (uncovered) for the night (don’t let anything above it drip into it).
  15. I typically like to brine boneless turkey for about 8 hours. I put it in the brine as I head to bed, then remove it, wash it and dry it, first thing in the morning. Soooo... about bedtime, add the boned turkey breasts and leg meat to the brine. Make sure the turkey is completely submerged. If it's not, you can weigh the turkey down.
  16. Place the turkey and brine into a refrigerator. Brine the turkey for between 2 and 10 hours. Any brining is good, even an hour. Longer is better, up to 12 hours. After 12 hours, the turkey meat starts to deteriorate, resulting in salty and somewhat mealy roast.
  17. The next day, if you have not reduced the turkey stock, put it on the stove and bring it up to a slow simmer. At this point, it’s about 1 gallon (3.75 L) of liquid. We want it to be about half that (8 cups [1.9 L]). Reduce it by half. Once it’s about half, remove 4 cups and set aside for things like mashed whatever and stuffing. Keep the remaining 4 cups on the stove and reduce by half, again. We’re going to make gravy from the final 2 cups of super reduced roasted turkey broth.
  18. When the turkey has been brined, remove it from the brine and wash thoroughly under cold water. Pat the turkey dry and set aside. Discard the brine. It cannot be re-used.
  19. When ready to roast the turkey, preheat oven to 450F (232 C).
  20. Lightly grease a roasting pan and set aside.
  21. On a large cookie tray, lay out a single slice of bacon. Next, line a second piece of bacon up, very slightly overlapping the first slice. Continue laying down slices of raw bacon, shingling them over each other, until you have a nice sheet of raw bacon. You’ll likely want roughly 10 to 14 slices of bacon.
  22. Lay the two turkey legs onto the bacon sheets, side by side. Lay half of your reserved sage leaves on the turkey. Now, roll the turkey roll, as tightly as possible. Slide a spatula underneath, without upsetting the wrapped roll and gently move the roll to the roasting pan. Be sure to leave enough room for the turkey breast roast.
  23. Put one breast, skin side down, on the cookie tray and line it with the remaining sage leaves. Now, place the other breast, skin side up, above the first breast, sandwiching the sage leaves. Make sure the breasts are reversed, to help create a more consistent width. Now, using the tips in the video in the notes above, tie the roast. Place it in the roasting pan with the leg meat.
  24. Place the roasting pan in the hot oven. After 15 minutes, turn the heat down to 350 F (177 C).
  25. After 45 more minutes, check the internal temperature on the turkey. Assuming the legs were rolled side by side, it should be a far thinner roast, causing it to cook much faster. So, test the deepest part of the breasts. Unless your breast roast is tiny, it’ll likely need a bit longer. Test the temperature every 10 to 15 minutes from this point forward. Use this opportunity to baste the roasts with any fat or juices that had collected in the pan. The roast will likely take somewhere between 1 to 2 hours (for a huge roast). Once the roast’s internal temperature is 160 F (71 C), remove it from the oven. Place the roasts on a large platter under some foil, in a warm place. Allow them to rest for about 15 to 20 minutes, before slicing.
  26. Deglaze the roasting pan with a bit of water. Over a burner, scrape the brown goodness off the bottom of the roasting pan and add the liquid to the 2 cups (480 mL) of super reduced turkey stock.
  27. In a small bowl, combine the tapioca starch (or arrowroot), the sweetener and the xanthan gum (or glucomannan powder or guar gum). Add a small amount of salt and pepper. Combine the dry ingredients together.
  28. Place the super reduced turkey stock over low heat on the stove. Whisk in the dry ingredients. Whisk until smooth. After about 3 minutes, you should know how thick the gravy is. Make a bit more of this thickening/seasoning mixture, if you’d like it a bit thicker. Continue adjusting thickness until it’s at the desired level (be careful not to add too much, though... Err on the side of a thinner gravy. Too much tapioca or arrowroot adds a lot of carbs. Too much xanthan, guar or glucomannan can cause the gravy to cross the line from a pleasant thickness... to slimy.) Taste, adjust season and place in a sauce boat.
  29. Slice the turkey. Serve with all the other goodies!