BRIAN IN THE KITCHEN  brought to you by Stittsworth Meats

November 22 2011

Pancetta-Wrapped Roasted Turkey

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1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, mashed
2 jalapenos, sliced
2 quarts hot water
One 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

MAKE THE BRINE In a large bucket or pot, combine the salt, crushed red pepper, garlic, jalapenos 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.

MAKE THE RUB Preheat the oven to 325F. 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.

Roast the turkey for about 4 1/2 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 165F. 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.