Roasted Beer-Brined Turkey with Onion Gravy and Bacon

Adding Guinness, or any dark beer, to the brine gives the turkey a toasty
flavor and helps give the skin a dark brown color. // © Christina Holmes

Food & Wine's senior recipe developer, Grace Parisi, is a Test Kitchen superstar. In this series, she shares some of her favorite recipes to make right now.

This is a real man’s turkey. There’s beer, there’s bacon and there’s the bird. Period! You won’t find any star anise or preserved lemon or lavender sprigs. Just beer, bacon and bird. Now I’m not particularly butch, but I do like some very guy things—guitars, whiskey, baseball, boxing…. I’ve even been known to split logs on occasion, I’ve fixed the toilet in my powder room twice (two different problems, thank you) and I bait my own hooks.

My goal with this recipe was to make a supersimple Thanksgiving turkey that would appeal to a wide audience of both sexes. I specifically left the ingredient list kind of short because guys are commitment-phobes with limited attention spans and more than 10 ingredients may trigger the flight response. I kid...Really, I just wanted to pack a lot of flavor and juiciness into the turkey. Full-bodied Guinness and smoky bacon infuse the meat during an overnight soak in the fridge. While the bird cooks, the fat from the bacon bastes the skin. The meat has a slightly smoky, hoppy flavor that is irresistible. Plus, the pan drippings are out of this world. They go into the gravy, where you really taste the undertones of smoke, coffee and malt. This may be a guy’s turkey, but it still doesn’t give one license to take his plate into the den to watch football while guests are at the table. SEE RECIPE »