Pancetta-Wrapped Roasted Turkey


After rubbing the turkey with a bold and delicious mix of chile powder, cumin, sugar and herbs, Texas chef Tim Love blankets it with slices of salty, fatty pancetta, resulting in a supermoist and savory roasted turkey.

Pancetta-Wrapped Roasted Turkey
Photo: © Tina Rupp
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
6 hrs



  • 1 cup kosher salt

  • ½ cup crushed red pepper

  • 2 garlic cloves (mashed)

  • 2 jalapeños (sliced)

  • 2 quarts hot water

  • 13 pound turkey

  • 6 quarts cold water


  • 1 tablespoon chile powder

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary

  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper

  • 1 pound sliced pancetta


  1. In a large bucket or pot, combine the salt, crushed red pepper, garlic, jalapeños and hot water and stir to dissolve the salt. Add the turkey, breast side down, then cover with the cold water so it is fully submerged. Cover and refrigerate the turkey for 12 hours.

  2. Preheat the oven to 325°. Drain and rinse the turkey and pat dry. In a small bowl, combine the chile powder, salt, cumin, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, brown sugar and black pepper. Rub the spice mixture all over the turkey. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Arrange about three-quarters of the pancetta over the breast, overlapping the slices. Secure the pancetta in several spots with toothpicks. Wrap the legs and thighs with the remaining pancetta, securing it with toothpicks.

  3. Roast the turkey for about 4 1/2 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 165°. After about 1 1/2 hours of cooking, cover the turkey loosely with foil as the pancetta browns. When the turkey is done, transfer it to a carving board and let rest for 30 minutes. Discard the toothpicks. Carve the turkey into slices and serve the crispy pancetta on the side.

Suggested Pairing

California Pinot Noir ranges in weight from light and fresh to voluptuous and rich; for this succulent bird, go for a more full-bodied bottling. Wines from the warm vineyards of Santa Barbara County tend toward this style.

Related Articles