Thanksgiving in the United States is a time where we sit down and share memories and food with loved ones.  The food that we share often times, can be nostalgic that respect time honored traditional dishes we had in our childhood.  However, I suggest that not all of those recipes were actually good.

Too often in fact the Turkey you remember that your Grandmother made was dry, tasteless, and you covered with a brown gelatinous substance that while brown – wasn’t really gravy at all.  If you are willing to take a step out of your comfort zone – I would like to share with you a whole new world of brining through my article on “The Magnificent Seven rules of Brining“.

That basic brine, changed the world for me.  The world that was associated with turkey and how the meat was supposed to taste like.

This recipe is the next step in that journey.  Deep toasty and robust flavors that are embedded deep into the cell structure of the turkey.  I promise you, that once you have brined your turkey you will always brine.  Good luck and have a great Thanksgiving!

Roasted Guinness-Brined Turkey with Onion Gravy and Bacon

Serves 12
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 3 hours
Total time 3 hours, 30 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Gourmet
Occasion Christmas, Thanksgiving
From magazine Food & Wine
Note that the addition of dark beer will result in a toasty type flavor and will help your turkey skin to develop a very deep dark brown color.


  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 onions (cut into thick wedges)
  • 1lb thick sliced bacon (at least 1/3 inch thick)
  • 6 12oz bottles Guinness Stout
  • 1 12-14 lb turkey
  • 1 cup turkey stock (or a low-sodium chicken broth)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Tabespoon all-purpose flour


This is one of those classic family recipes that is basically, "a little of this, a little of that." The amount of each ingredient can of course be altered to taste.


Step 1
Combine the mustard seeds, peppercorns and bay leaves in a very large pot and toast until fragrant. This will take about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar and salt and then remove this from the heat. Add 4 cups of water and whisk until the sugar and salt has dissolved; let the mixture cool completely.
Step 2
Add onions, bacon, Stout beer and 16 cups of cold water to the pot. Then add the turkey to the brine, placing the breast side down, and top it with a heavy lid to keep it submerged. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
Step 3
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees f and place the rack to the bottom shelf. Remove the turkey from the brine, removing any of the brine ingredients that may be stuck to the skin and pat dry with kitchen towels. Transfer the turkey into a large roasting pan, with the breast side up. Place the onion wedges in the pan and add 1 cup of water.

Using toothpicks, pin the bacon slices over the breast of the turkey. Roast the turkey for 2 hours, turning the pan occasionally, until the turkey thigh registers 150 degrees f on an instant-read thermometer.

Remove the bacon and place the turkey back in the oven. Allow the turkey to roast an additional hour, until the breast starts to brown and the thigh has reached 170 degrees f via the instant read thermometer. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board to rest.
Step 4
In a saucepan, pour the pan juices, onion wedges and boil this until the sauce has reduced to about 3 cups. This will take about 5 minutes. Then, add the turkey stock and allow it to return to a full boil. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix the butter and flour into a paste with a fork. Then whisk the paste into the gravy and boil until it thickens slightly, this will take about 5 additional minutes
Step 5
Cut your bacon crosswise 1/2 inch thick. Place the bacon in a large skillet and fry over high heat. Cook until browned and crisp.
Step 6
Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy and cooked bacon.

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