Turkey Breast and Stuffing Wrapped in Bacon

Thanksgiving in the summer...wrapped in bacon.

I feel guilty not using up all my herbs. Sage has been particularly plentiful this year.

I could watch Jamie At Home over and over again. In fact, I have watched every episode tons of times. Every time I watch him work his magic on something from his garden, I want to get up and cook something myself. He makes it look so easy and fun.

The other day, I saw cheese curds at the grocery store. I picked them up and decided right there that I would make poutine that night. And I did.1There are ingredients that can inspire whole meals, once you know how to cook. With a well-stocked kitchen, you can run with your inspiration and make a dish on a whim, that you’re proud of. Jamie Oliver, in Jamie at Home, does the same thing: he inspires you to get in the kitchen.

Likewise, there are dishes that teach the principles you need to know how to cook. Baking some bread, perfecting pies, learning about your grill or roasting peppers: all slightly boring and plain, they nevertheless perform a fundamental function upon which you can make those inspiring dishes. These educational dishes, likewise have a patron celebrity chef: Alton Brown. Watch any episode of his show and you’ll learn something, guaranteed.

Finally, there’s a third type of dish: the aspirational, the one you might not get quite right because you don’t have the skill, or the temperament for detail, or whatever. It’s the dish you have to stretch for, one where you constantly refer back to the recipe. You’re not sure you’re going to pull it off, but then it’s done, and it’s not bad. And you start thinking how you can do it better. And it’s embodied by: Gordon Ramsay. No pressure.

The following is such a dish.

Note the rolled up turkey in the top right corner; use enough bacon to cover the length


Given how much I love the bacon, it’s a wonder why I don’t feature it here more often. Note to self: more bacon!

Cooking with bacon in anything follows a familiar pattern: you cook it for a few minutes and it still looks raw. You wait a few minutes more and it’s still not cooked. Then it starts to colour. Just a little while longe.. OH NO, I BURNT IT AGAIN! This dish is a little different. You’ll be cooking it for almost the whole time and it won’t look cooked, then all of a sudden the bacon gets some color and the temperature is fine and you didn’t screw it up after all.

This is adapted from a similar dish in Weber’s Way to Grill by Jamie Purviance, which is a must if you’re a fan of grilling, very detailed explanations and pictures.

For the stuffing, use whatever herbs you like. I used sage and oregano this time, because they were both in overdrive in the garden, but I’ve used summer savory before (we’ll revisit summer savory in a few weeks).

It should form a nice tight package when you're finished.

Isn't it glorious?

Serve with something Thanksgiving-y but summer-y, like potato salad

Serves 4

  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp herbs for stuffing chopped (rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, etc)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 turkey breast, skinless, de-boned, about 1.5 lbs
  • 12-18 slices bacon

Place your bread crumbs, herbs, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add just enough water to make the bread crumbs into a paste, roughly a 1/4 cup. For extra flavour, use chicken stock. Set aside.

Butterfly your turkey breast: cut it in half lengthwise and open it up like a book. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over top the turkey. With a meat mallet or heavy pan, whack the bejesus out of the turkey breast to flatten it to about 1cm thick, in a even layer. Remove the plastic wrap.

Spread your stuffing mixture across the surface of the meat leaving a 2cm border around the edges. Roll up the meat lengthwise. Set aside.

On a cutting board, lay out your bacon slices in two overlapping columns of six to nine slices each, however much you need to cover the length of the breast roll. The columns should overlap by about an inch. At the seam where the two columns meet, place your turkey breast.

The goal is to completely cover the whole breast in bacon. To do that, take a strip of bacon and lay it diagonally across the breast. Then, take the other side in mirror image of the first. Do that for all the bacon.

Cut five strips of cooking twine and place them along the length of the meat. Tie each one to secure the bacon to the turkey. Then take one piece, twice as long as the turkey breast and weave it through the other loops on both sides of the breast. Tie the ends together.

Prepare your grill for indirect medium/high heat. Place a foil pan beneath the grill to catch the bacon fat.

Cook on the grill for one hour and fifteen minutes until a thermometer reads 165F in the center of the breast. Let it rest for 10 minutes before carving into 1/2 inch slices.


  1. And more besides: sausages on the barbecue and corn bread as an experiment. And I got it all ready at the same time. Yay me! []

Jason Kemp is a geek trapped in a cool guy's body. He hand crafts software for the web and mobile devices. He excels at user interface design, the deadlift and barbecue. He is @ageektrapped across the internet.

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