How To Carve A Turkey the Right Way

An average American consumes about 16 pounds of turkey every year. And especially on days such as Thanksgiving, you’ll find it being served in almost every other household. Learning how to carve a turkey goes right with the skill of cooking it. Serving and preparing is as important as getting the recipe right. 

Many inexperienced chefs do not know how to carve a turkey perfectly. If you have also cooked a juicy golden-brown turkey and are now wondering how to carve it, then don’t worry as we’ve got you covered. 

Read on and follow the given step-by-step guide to learn how you can cut your turkey perfectly. 

Things You Need

You would need the following things while carving a turkey to do your work effectively:

1. A Sharp Chef’s Knife

Make sure you own a sharp chef’s knife before you start carving a turkey. The blade must be sharp enough to cut the meat effectively or else you could not only ruin the turkey but also potentially injure yourself. 

Note that some people recommend the use of a carving knife in this process. However, a carving knife is not at all necessary and a chef’s knife would do the job just fine. So choose whichever you prefer. 

2. A Cutting Board

The cutting board should be firmly placed so that it doesn’t move during the carving process. Sterilize or clean the board before using it. 

3. Cutlery

You will need forks, small knives, napkins, and hand towels. Taking care of small details will help make your thanksgiving worth remembering.

How to Carve a Turkey? – Step-by-Step Guide

Following are the steps you need to follow to carve your turkey perfectly:

Step 1: Let the Juices Reabsorb

Before you start carving the turkey, you need to let the turkey rest for at least thirty minutes to keep it moist. Skipping this step would make the meat release all of its juices and also leave it dry afterwards. 

Step 2: Place the Turkey On the Cutting Board

Now you need to place the turkey on the cutting board. The right way to do that is by making sure that its legs are closer to you. Placing it this way would make the cutting process much easier because you will start slicing the turkey from its legs. 

Step 3: Separate the Legs and Thighs

Once you’re done with the preparations, start slicing the legs of the turkey from its body. To do this, firmly hold the legs with the help of a paper towel or with a bare hand if you are comfortable. Pick up the chef’s knife in your dominant hand and slice the skin through to the joint. 

Slice it until you feel the joint. After you reach the joint, drop the knife, take the turkey’s leg in your hand and push it downwards. You will hear a popping sound and the legs will be separated from the body. Repeat this process and slice off the second leg.

Step 4: Separate the Wings

Separating wings is much easier than slicing off legs and thighs. You need to take a wing in your hand and cut the skin connecting the wings to the breast to remove them. Additionally, you can cut the non-meat parts of the wings like wingtips if you want. They can be used to add flavor to soups or for many other purposes, so you can store them.

Step 5: Slice Off the Breasts

It’s time to slice off the meatiest part of the turkey: the breasts. First, you need to find the breastbone. Once you have spotted it, slice down as close to it as possible, so you don’t waste any meat. 

Use your second hand to pull the meat away as you slice through. Place the breast meat on the carving board and move on to the next step.

Step 6: Separate Thigh and Drumstick

Now that we have separated all the body parts from the turkey, let’s carve the individual parts – starting with the thigh and the drumstick. Slice through the joint connecting the two parts. Pull the drumstick and thigh away and pull them apart from one another until they are seperated. Repeat this step on the other leg.

Step 7: Debone the Turkey

Deboning the turkey is quite straightforward. Hold the bone with the help of a paper towel and slice through the flesh around it. To avoid potential injuries, make sure that you do not place your fingers too close to the knife.

Step 8: Slice the Meat

While slicing the meat, make sure that the flesh remains attached to the pieces and doesn’t separate away. Lastly, determine the size you want each piece to be, and use your sharp chef’s knife to cut through the turkey.

Serve The Dish

In the end, all that remains is to serve the dish. Decorate the platter if you want and serve it with salad and other thanksgiving dishes. Carved turkey gets cold quickly and nobody likes a cold piece of meat. So serve it right after you carve it so that the people can fully enjoy its exquisite taste. 

Final Thoughts

Carving a turkey requires skill, experience and most importantly, the right technique, so it isn’t uncommon for beginners to struggle with it. Before you begin, make sure that you purchase a sharp chef’s knife. Using a dull knife will not only make the process strenuously long but you would also be putting yourself at the risk of an injury.  

So we hope after reading this detailed guide, you’ve learned how to carve a turkey perfectly and enjoy a flavorful meal with your loved ones.