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Crispy bacon wrapped around a roasted turkey with rosemary sprigs.

Smoky Paprika-Bacon Roasted Turkey

Valentina K. Wein
This turkey will bring your Thanksgiving feast to the next level!
* If you're brining your turkey, (recommended), it must be done before you begin this recipe. It will take about 20 hours. (99% of that time is inactive.) Here's the recipe and how to do it.
4.94 from 16 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 4 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 600 kcal


  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, washed and dried, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, washed and dried, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, washed and dried, finely chopped
  • tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 approximately (12-pound) whole brined turkey (click here for brine recipe)
  • about 12 strips applewood smoked bacon
  • about 10 fresh rosemary sprigs, washed and dried
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • The turkey should be brined before you begin. (Brine recipe and instructions are here.)
  • Set the oven and prepare the pan. Preheat the oven to 500°F and adjust a rack that will fit your roasting pan and turkey. The rack will likely need to be below the middle. Then prepare a large roasting pan with a raised rack. Add two cups of water to the bottom of the pan and set aside.
  • Make the butter mixture. Make compound butter by combining the butter with the paprika, garlic, herbs and lemon juice. Set aside.
  • Prepare the turkey and add the butter to it. Remove the neck and insides of the turkey, rinse it inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels. Use your hands to loosen the skin on the turkey breast and legs. Then rub all but about 1 tablespoon of the compound butter under the skin, being careful to leave it intact. Set the remaining butter aside.
  • Truss the turkey. Truss the turkey with butcher's twine. (Trussing the turkey helps it stay juicier, and helps it hold its shape for a pretty presentation.) Here's How to Truss a Turkey.
  • Begin roasting. Place the turkey, breast side up, on the roasting rack and into the oven. After about 15 minutes, use a basting brush or your hands to spread the rest of the butter on the turkey's surface. Continue to roast until the skin is brown, about 10 more minutes. Then remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 350°F.
  • Turn the turkey and add the bacon. Gently turn the turkey over so the breast side is down on the rack. (Yes, this is tricky with a big turkey -- you might want to use heat resistant silicone kitchen gloves, or hold each end with paper towels for a better grip.) Cover the back and sides of the turkey with the bacon slices, using rosemary sprigs to hold them in place.
  • Continue roasting. Return the turkey to the oven (as it is, breast side down) and roast until the internal temperature is 155°F. The final internal temperature will be about 165°F, as the turkey will continue to cook for several minutes outside the oven. The juices should run clear and the legs should move easily when it's done. Cooking times might vary, but it should take about 2 hours. If your turkey is getting too brown before it has finished cooking, cover it with foil.
  • Rest the turkey, carve and serve. Wait at least 20 minutes before carving (this allows the juices to settle). Remove the bacon and add it to your serving platter. Place the turkey slices over the bacon as you carve. Garnish your platter with fresh herbs.
Keywords turkey with bacon for Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving turkey recipes
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