Lemon-Pepper Turkey with Bacon Gravy



From the 2015 FoodNetwork Thanksgiving edition



  1. Let the turkey sit at room temperature, 30 minutes. Position an oven rack in the lowest position (remove the other racks); preheat to 350.
  2. Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey; set aside for the gravy. Finely grate the zest from all 4 lemons; combine with the peppercorns and 1 tablespoon salt. Pat the turkey very dry with paper towels. Season the inside with about one-quarter of the lemon-pepper mixture, then rub the rest all over the skin. Cut one of the lemons into quarters; stuff inside the cavity along with the onion, celery, and thyme sprigs. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Put the turkey on a rack set in a large roasting pan and tuck the wings under the body.
  3. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, reserving the drippings in the skillet. Chop the bacon; set aside for the gravy. Add the butter to the skillet with the drippings and stir until melted, then pour into a bowl and stir in the juice of 2 lemons. Let the lemon butter cool slightly, then brush all over the turkey. Transfer to the oven and roast one hour. Meanwhile, make a classic gravy.
  4. After the turkey has roasted 1 hour, baste it with the drippings. Continue roasting, basting every 30 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165, about 2 more hours.
  5. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let rest 30 minutes before carving; reserve the drippings for the gravy. Stir the bacon into the finished gravy.


thanksgiving, turkey