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Michael Symon's Juicy Turkey Cooked in Cheese Cloth

The perfect recipe for a juicy, beautiful, golden-brown bird!
skill level
Over 120min
With Michael's recipe, you can be sure that your Thanksgiving turkey will turn out perfectly!
  • One 10-pound Turkey (neck and gizzards reserved)
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 Head of Garlic (halved through its equator)
  • 4 Sprigs of Fresh Oregano
  • 4 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Lemon (quartered)
  • 1 Onion (peeled and quartered)
  • 1 Fennel Bulb (quartered)
  • 1/4 Cup Picked Fennel Fronds
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) Unsalted Butter1/4 Cup Chicken Stock or Turkey Stock or Water
step-by-step directions We've Made Cooking As Easy As 1-2-3! printer friendly version 
  • 1
    One 10-pound Turkey (neck and gizzards reserved)
    2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
    The day before roasting, rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water, set on a clean kitchen towel, and pat dry. Season the turkey inside and out with the salt. Wrap the turkey in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  • 2
    Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 to 2 hours prior to roasting to bring to room temperature.
  • 3
    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F with the oven rack set on the lowest rung. 
  • 4
    3 Garlic cloves
    2 Sprigs of Fresh Oregano
    2 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
    1 Lemon Quarter
    In the turkey’s neck cavity, place a few cloves of the garlic, a few sprigs of oregano, a few sprigs of thyme, and a quarter of the lemon. Wrap the neck skin over and around the cavity to enclose the seasoning ingredients.
  • 5
    Half of remaining Garlic
    Half of Onion
    Half of Fennel
    Half of Fennel Fronds
    2 Lemon Quarters
    Half of remaining Oregano
    Half of remaining Thyme
    In the body cavity, place half of the remaining garlic, half of the onion, half of the fennel, the fennel fronds, 2 lemon quarters, and half of the remaining oregano and thyme.
  • 6
    Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack set into a large roasting pan. Fold the wings and tuck the tips underneath the bird. 
  • 7
    8 Tablespoons (1 stick) Unsalted Butter
    Remaining Garlic
    Remaining Onion
    Remaining Fennel
    Remaining Lemon
    Remaining Oregano
    Remaining Thyme
    1/4 Cup Chicken Stock or Turkey Stock or Water
    In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the remaining garlic, onion, fennel, lemon, oregano, and thyme to the pot with the stock or water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat so that the liquid simmers, and continue to cook at a lower simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • 8
    When cool enough to handle, soak a double layer of cheesecloth big enough to cover the bird in the butter mixture and drape over the breast and legs of the turkey. Pour the remaining contents of the pan over the bird, pushing the pieces of vegetable and herbs into the bottom of the roasting pan. Add the neck and gizzards to the bottom of the roasting pan.
  • 9
    Place the turkey in the oven and roast for 45 minutes (there will be the distinct possibility of smoke depending on how clean your oven is). Turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees F, and continue to roast for another 15 to 20 minutes per pound (removing the cheesecloth for the final 10 minutes to brown, if needed), or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a thigh registers 160 degrees F (about 3 hours). Remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

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