Smoked Turkey with Fruit Stuffing and Bacon

Thanksgiving was over two weeks ago now. I kind of feel like Rip Van Winkle. That might be because I spent the first half of that time in an amnesiac state cooking, eating, shopping, eating, Christmas decorating… and eating. And then the cold that I had so cavalierly, so foolishly thought I could avoid — even though it had brought down every other member of my house — well, it decided it was time to show me who was boss. It kicked my ass; I slept a lot and rediscovered my love for Nyquil.

Which is all to say, dearies, that I am back from the dead and I have a hell of a turkey recipe to share with you. There are not many things in the world that would make me get up at 6:15 a.m. This is one of them. I had a little company as I fired up the Big Green Egg, though…

A boy and his dog

While my Egg was coming up to 375 degrees, I removed my 6 lb turkey breast from the refrigerator, where it has been sitting in a simple salt and brown sugar brine for about 24 hours.

Turkey Brine

After a good rinsing, I pounded the turkey breast a bit with a mallet to even it out. Then it was time to spread the simple stuffing on top: I used one finely diced peeled apple mixed with 1/4 cup each golden raisins, chopped celery, and chopped walnuts.

Apple Stuffing

A careful roll and it looked like this:

Stuffed Turkey Breast

I find life is much easier if I lay out my butcher twine and then place the bacon I will be braiding on top.

Bacon Braid

Then all I have to do is carefully move my turkey roll over and start wrapping the bacon all around. Thorough and tight bundling with the butcher’s twine keeps everything in place.

Bacon Braid

And onto the smoker it goes. After about an hour, I rotated it for even cooking, inserted a temperature probe, and tented it with foil to keep the bacon from getting too charred.

Smoked Turkey Breast

As the internal temp approached the desired 165ºF (about 30 minutes later), I uncovered the turkey and took a peek. It was looking a bit dry for my liking, so I whipped together some cranberry juice and apricot preserves to make a basting sauce. (I would have preferred apple jelly and apple juice but you gotta go with what you have and it added a nice finish.) I brushed it all over and then dumped the last of the preserves on top, where they melted into a yummy, shiny glaze.

Bacon-wrapped Turkey Breast

My temperature probe told me we were at 160ºF, so I removed my lovely turkey from the heat and let it rest under a cozy foil blanket for a bit and finish cooking. This was the last purty shot I got…

Smoked Stuffed Turkey Breast

And then it was bundled up and transported to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving lunch — along with the requisite (and amazing) sweet potato casserole and some Pioneer Woman creamy mashed potatoes.

If there is one thing we know how to do in my family, it is eat. My aunt always says that you know you are one of us if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket and you never met a meal you didn’t like. There was plenty to like about this turkey, so I hope you’ll give it a spin.

Categories: Poultry, Recipes | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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