Cajun Roasted Cheesecloth Turkey

Thursday, December 17, 2020

 A juicy Cheesecloth Roasted Turkey made with Cajun flavors for a fun twist on my most popular Thanksgiving Turkey recipe! 


Cajun Roasted Cheesecloth Turkey with a delicious herb butter rub on the table for Thanksgiving.

We made our Roasted Turkey recipe for Thanksgiving a little different this year. We stuck with our Cheesecloth Turkey recipe but made it a Cajun Roasted Turkey.


It might be past Thanksgiving, but I know some people still make a Turkey for Christmas. So, I thought I would share this delicious Cajun Roasted Cheesecloth Turkey recipe incase you're looking to do something a little bit different.


It has a delicious Cajun Herb Butter rub with a smokey flavor from smoked paprika, and a little heat from the cayenne pepper. Fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, and plenty of minced garlic. Sage isn't traditional in cajun seasoning but it goes so well with Turkey I added it. 


Sometimes it's fun to do something different and both styles of Roasted Turkeys are delicious in their own way. Both Turkeys turn out super juicy and so delicious! 


I also shared at the end of this post how to make Gravy, since that is a common question I've been asked.


Here's how I made this Cajun Roasted Cheesecloth Turkey recipe:



A plain raw Turkey with plastic leg holders removed in a roasting pan sitting on a wooden cutting board.

This recipe will work for a 14 - 29lb Turkey. For a larger turkey you can make an extra half a recipe of the Cajun Herb Butter rub if needed to coat the turkey well.

I like to buy a fresh turkey at least 4 days in advance, because I've noticed they would still be partial frozen if I purchased it only a day or two before Thanksgiving. Even fresh turkeys are kept at a lower temperature that can leave them partially frozen. If you purchase a frozen turkey I recommend trying to leave an extra 3-4 days over the recommended defrost time in the refrigerator to guarantee the turkey is totally defrosted.

Dry the Turkey well with paper towels. Remove the gizzard bag and the plastic holders from the legs. Remove any feathers that might still be left on the turkey.

Place Turkey into a large Turkey Roasting Pan with a rack and add 2 cup of water to bottom of pan. 

A small white dish filled with butter, rosemary, oregano, thyme, salt, garlic, lemon,  smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.

Mix together until well combined: 
  • 1 cup Butter, Room Temperature 
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Rosemary, Stems Removed and Chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Oregano, Stems Removed and Chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme, Stems Removed and Chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Sage, Stems Removed and Chopped 
  • 6 cloves Garlic, Minced or more if you like
  • Zest of 1 whole Lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 3 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper

If your family prefers spicier foods you can increase the cayenne pepper. The 2 teaspoons adds a notable spiciness that isn't overpowering.

A black gloved hand rubbing cajun herb butter rub under raw turkey skin.

Slowly work your hands between the skin, over the breasts and drumsticks to avoid rips. Rub 2/3rds of the Cajun Herb Butter under the skin, over the breasts, and drumsticks.

Cajun herb butter rub over the top off uncooked turkey in a roasting pan.

Rub remaining 1/3rd of Cajun Herb Butter over the top of the turkey. Sometimes the butter doesn't like to stick to the turkey and that's ok! Just distribute it the best you can.

Tuck wings under the sides of Turkey.

If you you aren't stuffing your turkey, divide between both cavities: 
  • 1-2 whole Onions, Quartered 
  • 6 cloves Garlic, Peeled
  • 1 whole Lemon, Cut In Half 
  • 1 whole Granny Smith Apple, Roughly Chopped
  • 1-2 Carrots, Roughly Chopped
  • 2-3 stalks Celery, Roughly Chopped
Tie Legs together with cooking twine. Fold Wings under turkey, and skewer rear flap shut.

Turkey covered with Cheesecloth that has been soaked in a butter, wine, and chicken stock mixture.

To make basting mixture in a medium sized saucepan melt:
  • 1/2 cup Butter
Remove from heat and stir in:
  • 1 cup Dry White Wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
  • 3 cups Chicken Broth
Take 2 sq yards of Cheesecloth and fold large enough to cover the turkey, and soak in basting mixture.

Fully cover the top of turkey draping over the drumsticks with soaked cheesecloth.


Cheesecloth covering turkey is brown from baking in the oven in a roasting pan.

Roast Turkey at 300°F  for about 15-20 minutes per pound stuffed and a little bit less for unstuffed. Baste Turkey every 20-30 minutes with remaining basting liquid. Then with liquid from the bottom of the pan. Add additional water as needed to bottom of pan to have enough basting liquid.

If your ovens having a hard time maintaining heat from basting temperature it can be increased to 325°F. 

Turkey is done when the thickest part of the  thigh meat registers 180-185°F. If stuffed stuffing needs to register 165°F.

Cheesecloth removed from the top of turkey in the oven.

Remove Cheesecloth 30-45 minutes before turkey is done. Baste cheesecloth prior to removing to help loosen cheesecloth from skin and prevent sticking.

Turkey being basted in oven.

Baste Turkey well to help skin brown after removing cheesecloth and to become crispy.

Golden Brown Cajun Roasted Cheesecloth Turkey on a white serving platter garnished with fresh herbs and sliced oranges on a red plaid table cloth.

Cover the turkey with foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to soak back into meat. 

One of the most common questions I get on my Herb Butter Cheesecloth Turkey recipe is how do I make gravy?

While the turkey is resting I empty the drippings into a fat separator which leaves the fat floating on the top.

 If you've used a stove top safe roasting pan the gravy can be made in the pan. If you've used a disposable roasting pan you'll want  to scrape off what you can of the brown bits in the bottom of pan into a medium sized sauce pan.

Measure 1/4 cup Fat off the top of the drippings and add back to roasting pan or saucepan. Whisk in 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour until smooth. Scrape brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium heat while whisking until flour starts to brown. Reduce heat to low and stir until mixture is desired brown color being careful not to burn. A light brown mixture makes light brown gravy and a darker brown mixture makes a darker brown gravy.

If mixture burns discard or gravy will taste burnt. Incase mixture burns or there isn't enough fat, butter can be used in place of fat.

Slowly whisk in 2 1/2-4 cups of the Turkey Dripping Stock and additional stock or water as needed to achieve desired consistency. Add about a 1/4 cup liquid at a time until gravy is desired consistency. It's better to work slowly and have too thick of a gravy than to over thin the gravy. 

Taste gravy then Salt and Pepper to taste. I always salt and pepper last, because drippings have a tendency to have plenty of salt, and it's easiest to control once done. The gravy might not need more salt!

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American
Yield: Depends On Size
Author: Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
Cajun Roasted Cheesecloth Turkey

Cajun Roasted Cheesecloth Turkey

Cajun Roasted Cheesecloth Turkey with a delicious herb butter rub. A delicious juicy Roasted Turkey recipe from Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch.
Prep time: 45 MinCook time: 7 H & 30 Minactive time: 20 MinTotal time: 8 H & 34 M

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Turkey (Preferable fresh and all natural not injected with any solution.)
Cajun Herb Butter Rub
  • 1 cup Butter, Room Temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Rosemary, Stems Removed and Chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Oregano, Stems Removed and Chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme, Stems Removed and Chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Sage, Stems Removed and Chopped
  • 6 cloves Garlic, Minced or more if you like
  • Zest of 1 whole Lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 3 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
For Turkey Cavities If Not Stuffed
  • 2 whole Onions, Quartered
  • 6 cloves Garlic, Peeled
  • 1 whole Lemon, Cut In Half
  • 1 whole Granny Smith Apple, Roughly Chopped
  • 2 Carrots, Roughly Chopped
  • 2-3 stalks Celery, Roughly Chopped
Cheesecloth Cover
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1 cup Dry White Wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
  • 3 cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 sq yards of Cotton Cheesecloth
Turkey Gravy with Drippings
  • 1/4 cup Turkey Fat Drippings
  • 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 1/2 cups - 4 cups Turkey Dripping Stock, and Stock or Water to achieve desired consistency.
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°.
  2. Add 2 cups Water to the bottom of a roasting pan with a roasting rack. 
  3. Pat turkey dry using paper towels, and remove gizzards. Remove plastic holders from legs and discard. 
  4. Place in roasting pan.
Cajun Herb Butter Rub
  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Slowly work your hand between the skin and drumsticks to avoid rips. Rub 2/3rds of the cajun herb butter under the skin, over the breasts, and drumsticks.
  3. Rub remaining butter mixture over the top of turkey skin.
  4. An additional half recipe of cajun herb butter can be made if needed to cover a 25lb-29lb Turkey.
  5. Tuck wings under sides of turkey.
For Turkey Cavities If Not Stuffed
  1. Fill front and back of turkey cavity with aromatics if not stuffing. Or fill with stuffing if using.
  2. Tie legs together using cooking twine and skewer rear flap shut.
Cheesecloth Cover
  1. In a medium sized sauce pan melt butter.
  2. Remove from heat. Stir in wine and chicken stock.
  3. Fold cheesecloth into a rectangle large enough to cover turkey. About 4 layers.
  4. Soak cheesecloth in basting mixture.
  5. Fully cover the top of turkey draping over the drumsticks with cheesecloth.
  6. Roast turkey in oven basting every 20-30 minutes with remaining basting liquid until thigh meat registers 180°-185° F in the thickest part. If stuffed stuffing needs to register 165° in the middle. Allow anywhere from 15-20 min. per pound if stuffed. A little bit less for unstuffed.
  7. If oven is having a hard time holding temperature from basting or turkey is taking exceptionally long oven temperature can be increased to 325°F. 
  8. Baste turkey well and remove cheesecloth 35-40 minutes before turkey is done. Basting the cheesecloth before removing will help loosen the cheesecloth from any areas it might be stuck to. 
  9. Baste skin well to encourage browning and cook until meat reaches temperature. 
  10. Cover turkey with foil and allow to rest 20 minutes before slicing for juices to be reabsorbed. 
Turkey Gravy with Drippings
  1. If you've used a stove top safe roasting pan the gravy can be made in the pan. If you've used a disposable roasting pan you'll want to scrape off what you can of the brown bits in the bottom of pan into a medium sized sauce pan.
  2. Measure 1/4 cup Fat off the top of the drippings and add back to roasting pan or saucepan. Whisk in 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour until smooth. Scrape brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium heat while whisking until flour starts to brown. Reduce heat to low and stir until mixture is desired brown color being careful not to burn. A light brown mixture makes light brown gravy and a darker brown mixture makes a darker brown gravy.
  3. If mixture burns discard or gravy will taste burnt. Incase mixture burns or there isn't enough fat, butter can be used in place of fat.
  4. Slowly whisk in  the Turkey Dripping Stock and additional stock or water as needed to achieve desired consistency. Add about a 1/4 cup liquid at a time until gravy is desired consistency. It's better to work slowly and have too thick of a gravy than to over thin the gravy.
  5. Taste gravy then Salt and Pepper to taste. I always salt and pepper last, because drippings have a tendency to have plenty of salt, and it's easiest to control once done. The gravy might not need more salt!

The nutritional information and metric conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data. If this important to you, please verify with your favourite nutrition calculator and/or metric conversion tool.

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