Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Turkey Breast

Bacon makes everything better…so why not try it out with a turkey breast? While we’re at it, let’s butterfly, pound, and then stuff (with cauliflower “rice”) that turkey breast first.  Then let’s wrap it with the bacon.  Finally, let’s throw it on the grill to cook.  Yes, folks, now we’re talking about something worth taking a little time to make right – because this will take a little time to make.  But it’s definitely worth it, so plan this one for a day when you won’t be rushed to make dinner and can reap the rewards.  If you’re lucky, there might even be enough leftovers for lunch the next day…

Gather Up:

  • 1 large turkey breast, fully thawed.  If you can get a free range one, bonus!  You need skinless & boneless, but that’s easy enough to do if you end up with one that has the bone and the skin like mine above
  • 1 lb bacon.  Again, pastured if you can.
  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped fine (discard the stem)
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, chopped fine (discard the stem)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • zest of 1/4 lemon

Start out by steaming the cauliflower and “rice” it (you can follow the directions here for how to do this).  The only difference is that we are going to put the lemon zest in the water that we use for steaming the cauliflower. Don’t leave this out – it gives the stuffing a subtle lemony flavor that goes well with the herbs.  Once you’ve got the cauliflower riced in the food processor, add to it the garlic, rosemary, oregano, sea salt, and white pepper and mix well.  Set it aside for now.

While the cauliflower is steaming and before you start the below steps, get the grill started.  If using gas or charcoal, get a cheap aluminum pan (or make one out of foil) in place under the grate in the middle as a drip pan (bacon fires are NOT fun).  If you’ve got a pellet burner, just make sure your grease pan is in place.  Set up the grill for indirect high heat (around 450-degrees).

Next we need to prep the turkey breast.  Start by removing the skin and cutting the breast away from the bone (if it didn’t come that way).  Remove the inner breast “tenderloin”, and then trim out the ligament that runs through the middle.  The best way I’ve found to do this is with a sharp fillet knife running with the blade “flat” against the ligament and progressively shaving through the meat until I’ve fully cut it out.  Don’t worry about this smaller tenderloin ending up in a couple even smaller pieces…we’ll deal with that.  It is important for the main breast piece to remain intact.

Now, we need to butterfly the larger breast so we’ve got something a little thinner to start with.  Just be sure to keep the two halves consistent in thickness, starting at the thinner side of the breast, and to leave adequate “hinge” on the thick edge (about the same as the thickness of the slice at that point).  Unfold it, arrange the smaller pieces next to it on a large cutting board, and then lay a piece of plastic wrap over the whole thing.  Hammer the large piece with a meat mallet to an even thickness of about 1/2″ or so, and into a roughly rectangular shape, and the smaller pieces into about the same thickness and whatever shape they end up.  Take note of the hints in this recipe regarding how aggressive to be with the mallet – keeping in mind that the turkey breast will take a bit more coercion than was needed for the chicken.

Spread your stuffing across the large flattened breast.  Lay the small pieces on top of the stuffing running the long direction (if yours happens to be rectangular instead of square like mine).  Grab a long edge and roll it up into big log, trying to keep as much of the stuffing inside as you can (you may need three or four hands to do this successfully…just warning you).  Set it aside.

Lay out the bacon in parallel rows, overlapping the ends by a couple of inches.  Set the turkey “roll-up” in the middle across the strips.  Here is where you can finally put those mad basket-weaving skills you practiced in summer camp to good use!  If you’ve got more rows of bacon than you’ve got length of turkey (like in the above photo at the top end), then take one extra and lay them over the ends of the roll parallel to the length to cover up the ends.  Then, start at one end and pull up an end of the bacon across the top diagonally.  Take the open end from the opposite side and lay it diagonally the other way.  Alternate back and forth until you’ve woven the bacon across the entire roll.

As you can see here, basket weaving was NOT one of my activity choices at camp…  When you’re finished with the weaving, tie up the ‘roast’ with some butcher’s string¹.  If you were a Boy Scout, and paid attention at ALL during a half-dozen different merit badges, you should be able to handle this.  It’s nothing but a series of half-hitches in series – sometimes known as a “chain hitch.”  And if all this talk of hitches has you flustered…just start wrapping the string around it and tying it randomly until you are sure that the thing won’t fall apart.

Put the roast on the grill.  Poke a meat thermometer into one end so it is reading the center.  Keep the lid on as much as possible.  Turn the roast a quarter turn about once every 10 minutes to cook the bacon evenly until you’ve turned it to all four sides.  Continue cooking until the meat thermometer just reads 165 degrees – around 55 to 70 minutes.

Transfer to a cutting board and let it “rest” for another 5 to 10 minutes.  If you’ve been screwing off for the last hour while it was cooking, then use this time to hastily throw together a side salad and maybe some steamed carrots or something.  Remove the string, then carve into 3/4″ thick slices.  Serve, and enjoy!

1 – A note on “Butcher’s Twine.”  You may or may not be able to actually find this stuff sold labeled as such, and if you do, it will likely be through some outlandish gourmet kitchen supply store that is very proud of the fact that they appear to have the only source of true butcher’s twine.  Skip it, and head to the rope section in your neighborhood hardware store or all-in-one grocery store (like Fred Meyer out here in WA/OR).  Pick up a roll of 1/8″ 100% cotton string for around $1.29 and you’ve got enough butcher’s twine for a LOT of roasts.  Just make sure you don’t get nylon, hemp, or jute…because they’ll all leave a funny taste, I’m sure.

73 Responses to Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Turkey Breast

  1. Wow–this looks awesome. A little complicated, but totally worth it.

    • The first time I made it, it did seem a bit invloved. The second time, even stopping to take photos while cooking and all, it was much less so. And yes…well worth it.

  2. My mouth is watering now. That sounds really good

  3. Looks delicious. And I love your header photo.

    • The photo is Goose Island and Saint Mary Lake in Glacier National Park, looking to the west. Karen took that photo this past July when we were there on vacation.

  4. Wow that looks awesome. What do you think i about making it without the stuffing and then serving the slices on a hamburger bun?

    • I’m sure it would be good – sort of a bacon turkey burger. Of course, we don’t eat buns ourselves (no grains or gluten at all), so I’d serve it up wrapped in a couple of big leaves of romaine lettuce, and maybe rather than eliminating the stuffing, I’d come up with something using finely chopped mushrooms, onion, and garlic.

      • Wow, that is a really good idea,
        I did not even notice that your blog was about primal cooking, I just saw bacon on the freshly pressed page.

      • Not to worry…glad to see we’re reaching a pretty wide audience today! Bacon certainly is one of those words that catches a LOT of people’s attention.

  5. That looks soooooo delicious!

  6. I did this for Thanksgiving and it was delish!

  7. Sanjiv Khamgaonkar

    yummm ….

  8. Something I know my kids will eat! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Oh my, that looks absolutely delicious! And the curry recipe with the cauliflower – I’m definitely trying that. Thanks!!

  10. Thanks for the hint on Butcher’s twine. I’m looking forward to researching some of your other recipes.

  11. Oh, yes. We’ll be trying this. Bacon really DOES make everything better. Thanks for the ideas!

  12. Hmmm, I wonder if it will be warm enough at Thanksgiving to do this? Looks great and congrats on being freshly pressed.

  13. Yummmy! Making my lunch of plain old turkey sandwich look very boring. Going to definitely have to try this!

  14. You really had me at the title….. absolutely amazing recipe congrats at being freshly pressed.

    Wishing you success and the best days

  15. Pingback: Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Turkey Breast | Paneful's Greasy Spoon

  16. This looks like heaven on a plate, and a great dish for the holidays coming up! Can’t wait to try this! Thanks for the post, it looks and sounds so delicious.

  17. Wow that looks delicious, I’m hungry now!

  18. Good timing with a turkey recipe. I don’t eat meat anymore (I became vegetarian a few years back) but this comes in handy for those who eat meat and are doing http://DailySqueeze.ca's protein challenge this week (a new up-and-coming site for Canada’s latest and greatest in health, fitness and wellness trends). You may be interested!

    I really do need to eat more cauliflower! Cool that you used that.

    • Spend a little time exploring a few of the books on our “More Resources” page (I’d recommend Robb Wolf and Lierre Keith)…you may find some compelling reasons to reconsider the choice of vegetarianism. Even if not, it will give some good insight into how we build our recipes. Regardless, thanks for checking us out!

      As for the cauliflower – we use it quite a bit (and I NEVER liked to eat it as a kid). It makes a great low-carb substitute for two very common “neolithic” staples – rice (as used in this recipe and our coconut curry recipe), and mashed potatoes (look for that one coming soon). And it’s great to just snack on fresh!

  19. Doesn’t bacon just make everything better?

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

  20. This will be my next smoker recipe to try! Thanks for the detailed photos, and funny dialogue :)

  21. that looks really good.

  22. Everything is always better with bacon. The one shot of it completely wrapped raw is classic.

  23. I have to agree, everything is better with bacon ;) This looks good.

  24. This looks really delicious! I love the filling you made, I think I will try it with some yellow pepper and maybe green onion to add nice color and flavor. Thanks for the recipe!

  25. Pingback: Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Turkey Breast (via Purely Primal) « Mishthoughts's Blog

  26. Good idead turning a boring turkey breast by covering it up with a delicious bacon, this looks really good, I will definitely try it out and if I do try it out can I place it in my blog -> http://anyrest.wordpress.com

  27. Oops sorry that was my other blog, here is the one about food -> http://angsarap.wordpress.com

  28. Thanks! I’ll have to try this. Looks delicious.

  29. This looks fantastic! I always like turkey as apposed to beef or even chicken sometimes for just about everything, so this is interesting to see. :)

  30. looks awesome. Bacon gets a bad rap, but at only 35 calories per slice, it isn’t the worst thing in the world. Just don’t eat it by the pound!

  31. OMG. The looks of it is simply enticing. I am salivating as I am typing this comment haha!

  32. It is the season.

  33. Cauliflour, bacon, barbecue, count me in. Thanks for the great instructions and photos, and for the unusual recipe. Cauliflour inside turkey inside bacon? …shaking head…who woulda thunk….
    tonight I’m having cherry tomatoes for dinner.

  34. great looking recipe, i’m all over it thanks for sharing!

  35. Thanks for share!

    I ate this in restaurant taste good, but I don’t know how to make it.
    Now I know, thanks a lot ^^

  36. this looks SO GOOD! i just sent this to my dad….very medieval dish
    thanks for sharing!
    http://honorehonorhonour.wordpress.com/

  37. Absolutely wonderful! Very easy to make, I don’t have a grill so I baked at 450 and it was spectacular. Not complicated at all – took less than 15 minutes to prep. Also very inexpensive. Got everything I needed at Trader Joe’s for less than $12!!!. Go easy on the salt depending on the bacon you use. My mom made it on my suggestion using chicken breast and turkey bacon and loved it just the same.

  38. reading this makes me hungry! this is so yummy..!

  39. This looks so delicious! My wife wants to make it soon! We live in Taiwan and try to be as dedicated to the primal lifestyle as possible. Wonderful blog! Looking forward to browsing more recipes…

  40. Amazing! Totally looks delicious. That can be done in any occasion. Thanks for sharing.

  41. Great post…Looks Delicious .

  42. Congratulations on being freshly pressed. You have a great blog and I have just signed up to receive your updates.
    Hope to see you stop by mine sometime and looking forward to sharing.
    :-) Mandy

  43. this is super awesome…….

  44. You can wrap a rock in bacon and it’ll taste good. Bacon rocks. My favorite is maple flavored bacon by Black Label. AWESOME STUFF! I’m definitely trying this recipe. Might use it for Thanksgiving…it’s only the 4 of us…nice change to the typical ham/turkey spread. Thanks for sharing!

  45. Looks so good, but so fattening!

    • Actually, the idea that fat makes you fat is pretty much dead wrong. Spend a little time digging through Robb Wolf’s site, the PaNu blog, Mark Sisson’s Daily Apple, and Whole9Life (all can be found on our “More Resources” page) and you’ll see the reasons why something like this makes a great meal when combined with a side dish like a big salad or today’s roasted squash.

  46. Do you happan to know where is coming this tasty food’s name bacon from?
    About in the year of 1600 in the Hungarian deep woods of Bakony lived great many wild-hogs. At that time England ordered meat from Hungary, like cattle, swine. As it was usuel these animals were driven on legs to certain countries. Herds of swine and wild hogs of Bakony Mountain met and happaned a specific hybridisation , wich gave a better taste the meat and merchants wanted more swine from Bakony, they called bacon.
    Petron

  47. Pingback: Giving the Turkey a New Look « Santa's Own Blog

  48. Oh my, this looks delicious! And yes, BACON does make everything better. :D Thanks for sharing!

  49. Thanks for this. Can’t wait to try it. I’m thinking for my husband’s birthday next month! Yum.

  50. Yum! This looks great. Will have to try this when I’m home from school :)

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  53. Can it be done in the oven? Sounds delish!

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  55. I’m gonna try this for Thanksgiving. I am making a romantic meal for 2 and this will be perfect. Much better than a big ol Tom Turkey! Gonna change the filling to a cranberry-pecan stuffing, but definitely sticking with the bacon-basket weave! FAB-O! My man will LOVE it :)

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  59. Angela Ledgerwood

    I made this yesterday for Thanksgiving & it was awesome. I did it in the oven at 450 degrees. Here are my tips. Lay a piece of string under the bacon before you put the turkey roll on it – that way, it’s under the roll when you’re ready to start tying the roll up. Fill your drip-catching pan with water; otherwise, at 450 the grease caught in the pan will smoke up your house. And I would actually recommend setting the oven at about 420.

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