Learn how to carve a turkey like such a pro, you’ll bring tears to your old man’s eyes along with perfect servings of expertly-carved, delectably-juicy turkey to everyone else at the table.
How to Carve a Turkey Like a Pro | A Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Prepare the Gear
Before we learn how to carve a turkey, the first thing you need to do is prepare the gear. You’ll need the following:
- 1 very sharp knife
- Turkey platter
- Meat fork or tongs
- 2 cutting boards
- Dish towels
Step 2: Let the Turkey Rest
How many times have you had to eat dry, bland turkey meat? Marinating the meat for hours beforehand won’t mean anything unless you give it some time to rest after turning off the oven. Before carving the turkey, let it rest for around 15 to 20 minutes. This gives it some time to re-absorb and seal all the juices.
Step 3: Prepare the Cutting Board
Get your cutting board, place a dish towel on top of it, then prop the turkey on it. Turkey meat is very slippery – especially with all the juices coming out of it. To avoid making a mess, use a dish towel to cushion the turkey. This prevents the turkey from wobbling as you slice through it.
Step 4: Find the Wishbone
After positioning the turkey, flip it around and look for the wishbone near the neck. Use your sharp knife to slice on either side of it to expose the bone.
Tip: To make carving easier, tug the wishbone out using your hands. The wishbone will only get in the way when you’re slicing the meat.
Step 5: Slice Along the Breast and Leg
Next, use your knife to slice through the part that connects the breast and the leg. Then, pull on the leg and thigh to expose the joint. Keep in mind that you need to apply a bit of force when tugging this part. Remember: turkey is much tougher and larger than regular poultry.
Step 6: Cut the Joint
Once you have the hip joint exposed, cut through it using your knife. Afterward, use your tongs to separate the leg from the thigh.
Step 7: Carve the Leg and Thigh
Next, place the leg on a separate cutting board. Then, cut through the joint to separate the leg from the remaining thigh part. Set the leg aside. Then, carve the bone out of the thigh meat.
Step 8: Slice the Thigh Meat
Once the thighs are boneless, it’s time to slice multiple thick, lengthwise strips. After that, carefully place the leg and thigh meat on the plate.
Step 9: Repeat on the Other Leg
Flip the turkey around and do the same with the other side’s leg and thigh meat. Cut through the joints, separate the leg and thigh, and then place it on a plate.
Step 10: Carving the Turkey Breast
Once the legs and thigh meat are on your plate, it’s time to carve the turkey breast. Use your knife to slice through the right breast. Afterward, use the tongs to remove the right turkey breast in one piece.
Tip: To avoid ruining the turkey meat, don’t saw through the meat. Instead, use long, deep strokes to peel the meat off the breastbone.
Step 11: Slice the Breast
Once you’ve pulled the breast off, place it on a separate cutting board. Then, use your knife to slice through it against the grain, from tip to tip. After that, carefully place it on the plate.
Step 12: Repeat With the Other Breast
Do the same process to slice through the other turkey breast. Carefully pull it off and slice through it from tip to tip.
Step 13: Remove the Wings
Use your hands to pull the wings from the turkey body. Once you expose the joint, cut through it using your knife. You can opt to serve the wings whole.
Step 14: Serve and Enjoy
By this time all the turkey pieces should be on a large platter. Take out the gravy or cranberry sauce and serve. Congratulations! You now know how to carve and plate a turkey.
Tip: Opt for a meaty, protein-overload holiday! Serve up some juicy, perfectly grilled steak to go with the Thanksgiving menu you prepared.
Watch this video on how to carve a turkey effectively:
This is a simple yet comprehensive guide on how to carve a turkey. Turkey meat is much tougher than regular poultry, so don’t feel embarrassed if you struggle a bit while slicing and pulling the meat. Also, make sure to serve your guests some appetizers and ice-cold beer so they don’t starve while the bird rests. Follow this guide and we promise you’ll end up with a well-carved, juicy turkey your guests will love!
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