This chef's trick for 'shrouding' your turkey with cheesecloth dipped in butter is genius

Linton Hopkins
Hopkins and Co.
Shrouding the bird.

Here's a chef's trick well worth every second of extra effort.

Chef Linton Hopkins of Hopkins and Co. swears by dipping cheesecloth into white wine butter and then shrouding his turkey with the dripping, buttery cloth.

Then, he bastes on even more wine and butter throughout the roasting process. When he peels back the butter "shroud" after two hours of basting, the skin crisps up beautifully. 

"You peel it back in the final 30 minutes and start blistering the skin," Hopkins said. "It creates a beautiful crispy shell, like the outer layer of a croissant."

Here's his method:

Ingredients

1 unbrined turkey (16 to 18 pounds is ideal)

2 tablespoons kosher salt, Diamond Crystal

2 tablespoons medium ground black pepper

2 cups room temperature butter, unsalted

750 ml bottle of white wine

2-3 cups sage herb stuffing, or enough to pack the bird but not too filled

2 cups of onions, thinly sliced into rings

2 garlic cloves (topped to expose cloves, but kept whole)

½ cups all-purpose flour

1 quart turkey or chicken stock (homemade is preferred)

Shrouding the turkey.

Instructions

Rinse turkey, inside and out, and pat dry. Cut off wing tips (reserve for stock). Season thoroughly with salt and pepper inside and out and let sit unwrapped in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow salt to penetrate.

Stuff the turkey cavity with stuffing, truss with desired method (I truss so that the string isn’t too tight and doesn’t cut across the breast. Preheat oven to 475.

In large roasting pan, scatter onions over the base. Place stuffed, trussed turkey on top of the onions. Take 1 cup of butter and rub thoroughly over the entire turkey. Having a dry turkey skin makes this easier.

Heat the remaining butter with the white wine and soak a 16x16 square of cheesecloth in the warm butter/wine mixture. I have found that using a high-quality dense weave cheesecloth is ideal for this method, and a single layer works fine. Otherwise, fold the cheesecloth over on itself to create a thicker shroud.

Place garlic head adjacent to turkey. Lay soaked cheesecloth over the whole turkey, Place in oven.

After 30 minutes, reduce temperature to 375,  and baste with remaining wine-butter mix every 30 min for 2 hours. When you run out of the wine and butter mixture, you will use the drippings in the pan for basting.

At the 2-hour mark, gently remove the shroud, quickly baste the turkey and return to oven for close to 30 minutes and cook until internal thigh temperature is 180. A probe thermometer is essential for an accurate reading. Keep checking every 30 minutes, while basting, until the desired temperature is reached.

Remove turkey from oven, place on serving platter and let rest with a foil tent in a warm place.

Linton Hopkins basting a turkey with drippings and butter.

For the gravy:

Pour off all juices from pan into a graduated glass measuring cup (leave a little fat in there to help facilitate the roux (about ½ cup). Let the grease rise to the top (10-15 minutes) and pour off.

Bring roasting pan over direct flame, squeeze roasted garlic into pan with the onion and bring up the heat so that it makes a "cooking sound."

Add a 1/2 cup flour into the pan and stir around until a pan roux comes together. Whisk in 1 quart of your best turkey or chicken stock (homemade is really the best).

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, add reserved juices and let cook for 2 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Strain all into gravy boat.