Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat about 5 minutes until crisp, stirring to prevent burning.
Remove bacon from heat. Remove bacon pieces from skillet using a slotted spoon. Set aside.
Pour the bacon fat from the skillet into a heat-proof small bowl or measuring cup. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel.
Return 4 tablespoons bacon fat to the skillet. Add the butter, celery and onion. Cook and stir over medium high heat about 3 minutes.
Add the garlic. Cook and stir 3 more minutes, until the vegetables are translucent and beginning to soften. Remove vegetable mixture from heat.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the stuffing mix, sage or poultry seasoning, vegetable mixture, bacon pieces, apple juice, chicken broth, and black pepper.
Transfer mixture to medium buttered baking dish. Bake covered in preheated oven 25 minutes; uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes until the top is lightly browned.