How to Cook Turkey With Cheesecloth

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Tasty roasted turkey features golden brown skin and moist meat. To ensure your turkey has both of these qualities, cover it with cheesecloth soaked with butter during the roasting process. You can soak the cheesecloth in other liquids, such a wine, to give the turkey even more flavor. The cheesecloth will seal in the juices, keeping the turkey tender and flavorful. Be sure to remove the cheesecloth in the last hour of roasting the turkey so the outside becomes crispy.

Things You'll Need

  • 20-pound thawed whole turkey
  • Roasting pan
  • Glass bowl
  • Four sticks of melted butter
  • One bottle of white wine (optional)
  • Large piece of cheesecloth
  • Pastry brush
  • Meat thermometer

Step 1

Prepare and season a whole, thawed 20-pound turkey according to recipe instructions. Place the bird, breast-side-up, in a large, sturdy roasting pan.

Step 2

Place four sticks of butter in a glass bowl and melt them in a microwave. Add one bottle of white wine to the melted butter if you desire. Soak a large piece of cheesecloth in the butter or butter and white wine mixture for five minutes.

Step 3

Completely cover the turkey with the soaked cheesecloth. If you're using an over-safe meat thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the turkey thigh. Place the turkey in an oven pre-heated to 425 degrees and lower the temperature to 350 degrees.

Step 4

Use a pastry brush to baste the cheesecloth with the leftover butter or butter and wine mixture every 30 minutes throughout the roasting process.

Step 5

Take the turkey out of the oven and remove the cheesecloth after roasting the bird for three-four hours (longer if the bird is stuffed). Baste the turkey with the pan drippings. Check your meat thermometer or insert an instant-read thermometer; the bird will be ready to take out of the oven when the thermometer registers 165 degrees. This will usually be about an hour after you've removed the cheesecloth.

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Tips & Warnings

  • Don't rely on the pop-up timers that are included with many turkeys. They are pretty unreliable.
  • Don't worry if the cheesecloth turns black. This is normal.

References

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