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Brined turkey thighs wrapped in bacon with crispy sage recipe

Brined turkey thighs wrapped in bacon with crispy sage recipe

8 ratings

Turkey legs are a great, cost-effective way of mixing up your Christmas dinner, and this recipe helps you get ahead of time to make the big day as stress free as possible. Brining the meat helps keep it juicy and tender while cooking, resulting in succulent results. Helped along with crispy bacon and drizzled with sage butter, you're onto a winner with this recipe. See method

  • Serves 6 with leftovers
  • 1 hr 55 mins plus overnight brining
  • 433 calories / serving
  • Gluten-free


  • 2 x 1.25kg turkey thigh joints
  • 55g butter, softened
  • 275g pack streaky bacon
  • 12 fresh sage leaves

For the brine

  • 125g salt
  • 100g light soft brown sugar
  • 1 orange, zest pared into strips with a peeler

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    29g 41%
  • Saturates

    11g 56%
  • Sugars

    1g 1%
  • Salt

    0.9g 14%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 2g Protein 41.6g Fibre 1.2g


  1. One to two days before serving, brine the turkey thighs. Put 300ml water, the salt, sugar, and the orange peel in a saucepan. Heat over a low heat until the sugar and salt have completely dissolved. Top up with 1.7ltrs cold water to make 2ltrs.

  2. Put the turkey thighs in plastic containers or large, deep bowls and pour over the brine to cover. Transfer to the fridge and chill overnight, or for up to 24 hrs.

  3. Lift the turkey thighs from the brine and place on kitchen paper to drain thoroughly; pat the skin dry. Transfer the thighs to a baking tray, placing them snugly together. Season 45g butter and rub thickly over the top of the thighs. Layer the streaky bacon over the top, overlapping slightly until both thighs are covered. Cook immediately or chill for 24 hrs.

  4. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Roast for 1 hr 10 mins, then check to see if it’s cooked through. Cut into the thickest part of the turkey and see if the juices run clear. If not, return to the oven for 10-15 mins, loosely covering with foil if the bacon is getting too dark. Once cooked, rest for 10-20 mins, covered, while you finish the sprouts and carrots and reheat the gravy.

  5. Melt the remaining 10g of the butter in a frying pan. Add the sage leaves and then sizzle over a low-medium heat until crisp. Spoon the sage leaves and any melted butter over the turkey to serve.

See more Christmas recipes

For top tips on protecting you and your family when preparing raw meat and poultry, visit Food Safety in the Home.

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