We all know that a beautiful, golden turkey will be the star of your Thanksgiving. But what if that turkey was wrapped in bacon? Your turkey would become legend! After several failed attempts at creating a full turkey wrapped in bacon, we discovered the genuis of the turkey breast. You see, if you wrap the turkey in bacon and then cook, the bacon gets burned. If you wait to put the bacon on late in the cooking process, the skin has already crisped and the fatty bacon melts around the skin and makes a rubbery mess (yuck). By using just the turkey breast, we were able to really infuse the lean turkey meat with the extra richness and flavor from the bacon without overcooking anything. The turkey meat is tender and bursting with salty, bacon-ey goodness and the stuffing inside is some of the best we've ever tasted. Give this one a try for your family's holiday feasting, but be warned; they'll ask you to cook the turkey every year for the rest of forever.
Stuffed Turkey Breast in a Bacon Weave
Prep Time: at least 6 hours to brine
Cook Time: 2 to 2 1/2 hours
Serves: 8-10 people
Recommended Pellets: Hickory, Oak, Pecan, Alder, Apple
For the Brine:
8 cups apple cider
1-1/2 cups kosher salt
1-3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
5 dried bay leaves
For the Turkey:
2 boneless skinless turkey breasts (2-3 lbs each)
20 strips thick cut bacon
Traeger Pork & Poultry Rub
For the Stuffing:
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion
1 14-ounce package herb-seasoned stuffing (such as Pepperidge Farm)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or marjoram, minced
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries (optional)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed to moisten the stuffing
6 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing the baking dish
Make the turkey brine: Combine all of the brine ingredients and 8 cups of water in an 8-quart pot; bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate until cold.
Brine the turkey: Put the turkey breast in a pot or tub large enough to hold it and the brine. Add the brine and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 20 hours.
Smoke the turkey: Using a long, thin knife butterfly each of the turkey breasts. Season lightly with Trager Pork & Poultry Rub. When ready to cook, start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open for 4-5 minutes. Smoke the turkey breasts for 30 minutes, flipping once after 15 minutes.
Prepare the stuffing: Saute the onion and celery in a large frying pan in 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat and cook until softened. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the stuffing mix and cranberries, if using. Warm the chicken broth over medium-low heat; add butter and cook until melted. Toss with the bread/sausage mixture and mix lightly.
Make the bacon weave: Using the technique in our post about creating a bacon weave, lay out your bacon weave in a 5x5 pattern on a piece of wax paper or tin foil. Repeat for the second breast on a separate piece of paper or foil.
Stuff the turkey: Remove the turkey breasts from the grill, close the grill and preheat to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Lay the breasts flat on top of your bacon weave. Stuff each breast with approximately 1-1/2 cups of the stuffing mixture. Pick up one side of the breast and roll to the other. Secure with toothpicks or a long skewer. Roll the paper or foil with the bacon weave over the rolled turkey breast. Overlap the bacon on the ends of the turkey breasts and place seam side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the second breast.
Cook the stuffed turkey breasts: Return the bacon wrapped turkey to the Traeger and cook for approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the stuffing reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If the bacon appears to be getting too dark for your taste, cover with foil. If you like your bacon extra crispy transfer the turkey breasts directly to the grill grate after 1 1/2 hours on the grill.
Slice and enjoy!