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Beer-Brined Turkey and Onion Gravy with Bacon Recipe


(Photo provided by Marcia Selden Catering)

Your love of turkey doesn’t have to go away now that Thanksgiving’s done!

We know you’re probably still pulling out of your tryptophan coma, but good food shouldn’t stop anybody . . . that’s why we’re sharing a recipe for Beer-brined Turkey and Onion Gravy with Bacon. And, although the recipe calls for six 12 ounce bottles of dark stouts/porters/ales, we think you should have lots more ready to go so that you can brine yourself to a buzz as you prepare this dish. This is a great and hearty meal for those cold winter days, for those times when you have friends over for football or hockey, or just because you need another dose of turkey . . . and bacon.



  • ¼ C Yellow Mustard Seeds
  • 2 T Black Peppercorns
  • 8 Bay Leaves
  • 1 C Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 C Kosher Salt
  • 2 Onions, cut into thick wedges
  • 1 lb. slab Bacon, sliced 1/3 inch thick
  • Six 12 oz Bottles of dark Beer / Stout (we like Guinness)
  • One 12-14 lb. Turkey
  • 1 C low-sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 T Unsalted Butter
  • 1 T All-Purpose Flour



In a large pot, combine the mustard seeds, peppercorns and bay leaves and toast over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar and salt and remove from heat. Add 4 cups of water and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Cool completely.

Add the onions, bacon, Guinness and 16 cups of cold water to the pot. Add the turkey to the brine, breast side down, and top with a lid to keep it submerged in the liquid. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position the rack on the bottom shelf. Remove turkey from the brine, remove any seeds and bay leaves. Pat dry. Transfer the turkey to a roasting pan, breast side up. Strain onions and bacon out of the brine. Scatter the onion wedges in the pan and add 1 cup of water. Using toothpicks, secure the bacon slices over the breast. Roast the turkey for 2 hours, turn the pan occasionally. Remove when a meat thermometer inserted deep into the turkey thigh reads 140 degrees. Remove the bacon and return the turkey to the oven. Roast for about 1 hour longer, until the breast is browned and a thermometer reads 165 degrees. Remove the turkey and place it on a carving board or serving platter.

Pour the pan juices and onion wedges into a saucepan and boil until reduced to 3 cups. Add the chicken stock and return to a boil. In a small bowl, mash the butter to a paste with the flour. Whisk the paste into the gravy and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Cut the cooled bacon crosswise into ½ inch thick pieces. In a large skillet, fry the bacon over high heat, stirring occasionally, until crispy. Carve the turkey, when ready to serve add crisp bacon to the gravy.