Turkey is the crown jewel of Thanksgiving dinner, but as any home cook knows, it can be extremely finicky to work with. You run the risk of not heating the meat all the way through, or you end up roasting it for too long and drying it out in the process. Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli knows this struggle all too well, but has found a way to avoid both pitfalls: just add cheesecloth.
Guarnaschelli shared this simple trick recently on her Instagram, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner. She drenches cheesecloth in melted butter and applies a layer of it to the entire outer surface area of the bird to keep it from burning and drying out when it’s in the oven. The butter adds a bonus layer of hydration (and flavor!), and cheesecloth further encases the bird to trap in more moisture.
Plus, it doesn’t take any time or know-how to include. Once she’s soaked the cheesecloth in butter and laid it on the entire turkey, Guarnaschelli puts the pan in a preheated, 450-degree Fahrenheit oven and roasts her meat for 15 minutes. After that point, she lowers the oven temperature to 350 Fahrenheit and leaves the turkey at that heat for the equivalent of about 12 minutes per pound of bird. (For example, a 10-pound cut would equal 120 minutes in the oven.) After about two hours, she removes the cheesecloth from top and returns turkey to the oven. In your case, you can go back to cooking it as you normally would. That’s it! The cheesecloth has done its duty, and that bird is well on its way to being evenly cooked, incredibly flavorful, and crispy yet tender.
How do you know when the turkey is done? The thigh meat should have an internal temperature of around 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, you’re ready to eat.
Guarnaschelli also included a full turkey stuffing recipe in her post, so if you’re looking for a new version to try that differs from your usual fare, hers is one to definitely check out! Now go grab some cheesecloth, melt that butter, cook your turkey, and get ready to bite into that perfect cut of meat.