Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Thanksgiving Dinner- Seriously, it’s my MOST favorite holiday; cooking, family and eating, it’s simply the BEST!! 

Download the printable FREE Kathy Cooper’s Healthy Kitchen Thanksgiving Recipe Book & grocery list: Thanksgiving Grocery List & Thanksgiving Dinner- All the recipes for a FABULOUS Thanksgiving Dinner!!

There is a video below on how to wrap the turkey in BAAACCCONNN!!!!

Count out how many people are coming.

The turkey size is figured as 1- 1 ½ pound(s) of turkey per person. (20 people is 20-25 pound turkey)

Plan the menu at least two weeks in advance.

  • Brined bacon wrapped turkey on the charcoal grill
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Broccoli-cheese casserole
  • Green beans
  • Brown sugar carrots
  • Biscuits
  • Gravy
  • Fruit punch
  • Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate chip cookie bottom
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Grandma T’s apple pie

Make your grocery list as soon as you’re done planning the menu. (Remember if you are doubling a recipe to count those ingredient amounts in your shopping list.)

Buy all your ingredients immediately after planning the menu and making your grocery list. At least 10 days before Thanksgiving. (There is no doubt you will forget something and at least you will have time to go pick up one or two little extras without the burden of the entire list….)

Removing and Cooking the Giblets

(they include the neck, heart and gizzard)

  1. They are sometimes located in both of the turkey cavities; front and back.
  2. They are usually in a paper wrapping of some kind.
  3. Take the neck and put it in a pan and cover it with water and put a lid on the pan.
  4. Cook on the stove on medium-high heat, bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for about an hour keeping the lid on.
  5. Let it cool. De-bone getting as much meat off the bone as you can. Put the meat back in the pan with the liquid. Set aside until you are ready to make the gravy. 
  6. Decide when and what order you are going to cook your menu items. Here is a suggestion:


Menu Item When to Prepare and Cook Notes
Brined bacon wrapped turkey on the charcoal grill Wrap the night before  
Cooking the giblets Cook the night before for use when making the gravy.  
Stuffing Prepare the night before; bake an hour before eating.  
Mashed potatoes Peel, cut and put in the pan filled with water the night before, start cooking 1 ½ before eating.  
Cranberry sauce Prepare the night before. Set out at dinner time.  
Broccoli-cheese casserole Go ask your mom if she will make this…it’ll be one of the only things she cooks for the next year…. J  
Green beans Make the night before, reheat just before eating.  
Brown sugar carrots Make the night before, reheat just before eating.  
Biscuits Make immediately before sitting down to eat.  
Gravy Make about ½ hour before eating, keep hot on the stove or microwave just before eating if it’s not hot enough.  
Fruit punch Freeze the special ice cubes the night before and make the punch  about ½ hour before guests arrive  
Chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate chip cookie bottomw/ chocolate frosting Make the cupcakes and frosting the night before, frost them the next morning.  
Chocolate chip cookies (Make a double batch for cupcakes and cookies) Make them the night before  
Grandma T’s apple pie Prepare and bake in the morning.  

Detailed Step by Step Video

The Express Instructional Video!


The Turkey

Brined, Bacon Wrapped & Grilled

  • 1 20 lb. turkey WITH A POP UP TIMER!!
  • 2-3 bottles of unsweetened apple juice
  • 2-3 large cans of chicken broth
  • 3 apples
  • 2 red onions
  • Fresh rosemary, thyme and sage; 1 package each
  • 3 packages of bacon
  • 1 VERY large pot; big enough to put the whole turkey in with a lid.
  • 1 large disposable roasting pan
  • Charcoal and lighter fluid and matches
  • Grill

Brining the Turkey:

  1. On the Sunday before Thanksgiving unwrapped the turkey and pull out all the giblets. (They are in both cavities-front and back- usually in a small paper bag)
  2. Put the turkey in that VERY large pot.
  3. Pour one apple juice in the pot.
  4. Pour one chicken broth in the pot
  5. Put half of the spices on each side of the turkey in the both and juice mixture.
  6. Pour in another apple juice.
  7. Pour in another chicken broth.
  8. Keep alternating until the turkey is covered with liquid.
  9. Cover it tightly with tin foil and put the lid on it.
  10. Put it in the refrigerator.

Bacon Wrapping the Turkey: A Good I.Dee: Wrap the turkey the night before you cook it.

  1. Take the turkey out of the brining liquid and discard the liquid (you can save the spices…)
  2. Place the turkey in the roasting pan…..Ummmm…breast and leg side up…in case you didn’t know…
  3. Peel the onion and cut into large chunks.
  4. Cut the apples in large chunks.
  5. Put the apples, onions and spices in the turkey cavity. (Alternate the apples, spices and onions until they turkey cavity is full)
  6. Unwrap the bacon and put it on the counter so you can reach for it easily.
  7. Start with wrapping the wings; stretch out the wing and wrap round and round, starting at the farthest point from the turkey’s body.
  8. Fold the wing back and tuck it under the turkey; they will be less likely to burn if you do that.
  9. Repeat with the other wing.
  10. Next wrap the legs; pull the leg out from the body of the turkey and wrap round and round. It may take several pieces of back to wrap one leg.
  11. Make you are wrapping so that no skin is showing.
  12. Repeat with the other leg.






  1. Next put bacon slices on the sides.








  1. Then the top working from front to back.
  2. Until the entire turkey is covered and wrapped in bacon.







16. Pepper the top.







17. Wrap with heavy duty tin foil.

Preparing the Grill and Cooking the Turkey:

  1. Make sure all old charcoal is removed from the grill.
  2. Make two piles of charcoal, one on each side of the grill, using about 10-15 pieces of charcoal.
  3. Sprinkle lighter fluid on each pile of charcoal and light each pile with matches.
  4. Let the coals get hot. They are ready when there is hot red in the center of the pile and the edges of the charcoal are gray.
  5. Put the grate on the grill with the handle holes by the piles. This is VERY important!! You will need to add coals to the piles through those openings.
  6. Carry the turkey out to the grill using a cookie sheet under it.
  7. Transfer the turkey from the cookie sheet to the grill.








Notice the handles on the grill are even with the piles, so you can easily drop the coals through the openings!

8. After 20 minutes, add two or three coals to each side, through the openings.

9. Add 2-4 coals every 20 minutes or so, making sure the coals doesn’t burn out or get too hot. If you can hear the turkey simmering and the coals have not burned much, wait another 10-15 minutes and check it again.

10. The cooking time will be about 20 minutes per pound. (A 20 pound turkey will take about 6 ½ hours or so… a 25 pound turkey will take about 8 hours.)

11. The turkey is done when the popper pops out (or the legs are easy to move and feel as if they will pull off easily.) You DO NOT want to overcook a turkey , it will be dry….(if the turkey does not have a popper, stick to the 20 minutes per pound and take off the grill then.

12. Remove the foil. The bacon will be brown and crispy looking








13. There will be a lot of liquid in the pan. Take a turkey baster and squeeze out the juices into a pan. It might be easier to use a cup with a handle. Be careful, though, it will be VERY, VERY hot!

14. Go get someone to help you take it off the grill. You could do it, but it is a LOT easier if you can get an extra pair of hands to help you.

15. Hold the cookie sheet as close to the turkey pan as you can and slide the cookie sheet under the turkey pan and slide the turkey pan onto the cookie sheet at the same time.

16. Carry it in the house, place it on the kitchen counter and let it rest for at least an hour. Lay the tin foil loosely on top.