Onion & Bacon Grilled Turkey Breast

It’s no secret we have an affinity for bacon.  I mean, who doesn’t?  It embodies nearly all of the things our primitive taste buds crave – salt, fat, smokiness, and perhaps a hint of sweet (depending on the brine and cure ingredients).  And when used as a “wrapper” for other meat during cooking, it becomes a great ingredient for adding flavor while preventing the leaner wrapped meat from becoming dry or bland.  That is the concept behind today’s recipe, as well as the more complicated Bacon-wrapped Stuffed Turkey Breast recipe that has grown to become the most-viewed recipe on this site (by a factor of more than 2x any other post!).

Gather Up:

  • Two medium-large turkey breast halves (about 1 lb each), boneless and skinless
  • 6~8 strips of thick-cut pastured bacon
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into 1/4″ thick rings
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1-1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • handful of toothpicks (not shown)

For this recipe, we’re going to use a grill “pan” that has smaller openings than the standard grill grate.  You could also use a hinged wire veggie basket or similar if you have one (I would have if I had one – so that I could have flipped it half-way for more even cooking).  Heck – this recipe might even be a good way to make use of your campfire toast maker now that you’ve quit eating bread!

Anyway, start heating the grill to medium indirect heat (about 325).  Place an aluminum pan or foil “tray” under the grill where the turkey will set (the heat should be on either side rather than directly under) to catch the drippings off the bacon.  Then layer half the bacon on the mesh/pan surface, spaced out a bit and arranged so that the turkey breasts will just cover it entirely.  Follow by arranging half of the onion slices (separated into rings) on top of the bacon.

Continue by placing the turkey breasts on top of the onion slices.  Press them down into the onions so they lay flat (mine were still partly frozen so they didn’t flatten out like they should normally).  Sprinkle the tarragon on top, then arrange the sliced garlic on top of that.

Finally, top with the remaining onion rings/sliced, and finally the remaining bacon.  I draped it cross-ways this time, and secured with toothpicks, because I’m going to grill this “open faced.”  If you have a two-sided mesh basket you are grilling it in, you don’t need to worry about this so much.  Let sit aside while you are waiting for the grill to reach temperature (you can get started on your side dishes at this point if you like).

Place the pan or wire basket directly on the grill grate (the aluminum foil in the above photos is for keeping things from dripping while going to and from the grill, and is not under the pan while grilling).  Cook until a thermometer poked into the center of the thickest breast reads just at 160 to 165 – perhaps 30 minutes because of the lower grilling temperature compared to our usual 400 degrees.  If you are using a two-sided grilling basket, you can turn half-way through to cook the bacon more evenly – otherwise you simply end up with “crispy” underneath and “chewy” on top like I did!

Remove the onion slices and bacon from above and below the breasts and set aside.  Slice each breast across into roughly 3/8″ thick slices.  Serve arranged on a plate with a mix of the onions on top and a strip or two of the bacon.  This goes great with a side of Green Beans with Hazelnuts, as we have it in the photo above.

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