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Beer-Brined Turkey with Onion Gravy and Bacon


  • 1/4 c yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 T black peppercorns
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 1 c dark brown sugar
  • 1 c kosher salt
  • 2 onions, cut into thick wedges
  • 1 lbs bacon
  • Six 12-ounce bottles Guinness stout
  • One 12- to 14-pound turkey
  • 1 c chicken broth/turkey stock
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 1 T AP flour


  1. In very large pot, combine the mustard seeds, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Toast over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar and salt and remove from heat. Add 4 cups water and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool completely.
  2. Add the onions, bacon, stout, and 16 cups of cold water to the pot. Add the turkey to the brine, breast side down, and top with a heavy lid to keep it submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack on the bottom shelf. Lift the turkey from the brine, pick off any peppercorns, mustard seeds, and bay leaves. Pat dry. Transfer the turkey to a large roasting pan, breast side up. Scatter the onion wedges in the pan and add 1 cup water. Using toothpicks, secure the bacon slices over the breast. Roast the turkey for about 2 hours, turning the pan occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted deep into the thighs registers 150 degrees. Remove the bacon and return the turkey to the oven. Roast for about one hour longer, until the breast is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 170 degrees. Transfer the turkey to a carving board.
  4. Pour the pan juices and onion wedges into a saucepan and boil until reduced to 3 cups (about 5 minutes). Add the chicken broth and return to a boil. In a small bowl, math the butter to a paste with the flour. Whisk the paste into the gravy and boil until thickened slightly (about 3 minutes).
  5. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy and bacon.

Wine suggestion: Smoky, peppery California Syrah (2009 Terre Rouge Les Cotes de l’Ouest)

Published inFood