Roast Turkey with Bacon Herb Butter

It wasn’t Mom. Evelyn really taught me to cook. She’s creative and fearless in the kitchen, especially when cooking for a quantity. One year, the roast turkey with bacon herb butter she cooked was so enormous (one of the fatter birds raised by a neighbor at Goose Creek Farm), it bowed the oven rack under its weight. Southern Indiana Evelyn first introduced me to James Beard and can always be counted on to throw down a delicious dinner. She “could always cook the dopest meals!” declares one friend who is lucky to live within driving distance of her cooking.

We’re planning to secure a good bird and some thick bacon to take center stage at our feast.

Is getting a heritage turkey all that important? Most definitely.

Heritage Turkeys: Worth the Cost? by Bill Niman and Nicolette Hahn Niman, The Atalantic

Roast Turkey with Bacon Herb Butter

Cooking time: 4+ hours


  • 8 slices bacon (1/5 lb.), crisped
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 Tbs.+ fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 Tbs.+ fresh chervil, chopped
  • 1 Tbs.+ fresh thyme, destemmed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups leeks, chopped (approximately 2 medium leeks, white and pale green sections)
  • 4-1/2 cups chicken broth


Crumble/chop bacon. Mix with butter and chopped herbs. Chill.

Salt and pepper turkey inside and out.

Loosen the skin and apply 1/3 of butter mixture under the skin and over the breast meat.

Rub 2 Tbs. of butter mixture on outside of turkey. Set aside 1/3 cup of butter for basting.

Stuff leeks into the cavity to keep the bird moist.

Pour 1/3 cup of broth over the turkey. Baste with the remainder of the broth throughout roasting period.

Place turkey in the bottom third of the oven and roast for 15-18 minutes per pound in a 350° oven (usually around 4 hours+).

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