The process of carving a turkey can seem intimidating, but it’s actually quite simple. You just need a sharp knife and a big cutting board.
It’s important to let your turkey rest uncovered for 30-60 minutes before you start cutting, because it will help the meat re-absorb its juices. Also, it’s better to carve one side of the bird at a time.
Legs and Thighs
To cut the leg and thigh, you will need a sharp chef’s knife. Slice through the skin where the breast and thigh meet until you hit the hip joint.
Then, bend the turkey backwards until you feel a popping sensation from the joint. Continue to carve around the joint until you don’t get any resistance, and the thigh/leg is fully separated from the body of the turkey.
Repeat on the other side of the turkey.
Next, remove the wings from the turkey. Place the intact wing closest to you on the cutting board or turkey, and then pull it open to form a V-shape.
This should reveal a ball joint where the wing meets the breast. Simply slip your knife in the center of this joint and slice. Gravity will take care of the rest!
You can cut a turkey breast into several slices, depending on how much meat you want to serve. Whether you are serving the breasts as one piece or in multiple parts, it is important to slice them against the grain so they will retain moisture and be tender.
Start by running your knife along the side of the breastbone to separate the breast meat from the bone. You can also cut the entire breast off first and slice it against the grain afterward if you want larger portions.
Next, remove the turkey’s backbone by making a series of small cuts. The backbone is full of flavor and can be saved for stock or gravy.
Finally, remove the wishbone, a thin bone that runs along each breast plate. It is easy to pull off if it’s not attached to any skin.
For the legs, flip the turkey over and firmly pull the leg closest to you toward you. Then, slice downward into the space between the wing and the body until your blade hits the joint that connects the wing to the back.
Turkey wings are a great alternative to a traditional turkey for holiday dinners. They’re surprisingly easy to prepare and come out perfectly tender.
Start by dry-brining the wings to ensure they’re extra juicy and tender when cooked. Next, coat them in a mixture of oil and a delicious blend of spices.
Use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to separate the sections of the wing. You may need both.
Remove the wing tips and drumettes from the wings. Cut them into two pieces separating the drumette from the wing tip (photo 2).
Repeat this step for each wing to make sure you’ve removed the entire wing.
Once the wing is free, transfer it to a platter. You can nestle it in between the breast and the thigh, or you can serve it separately.
When you want to cook a turkey but don’t want the bone to get in the way, you can debone it before cooking. This makes the meat much easier to carve, and you won’t have any leftover bones.
To debone a turkey, you’ll need a sharp chef’s knife and a large carving fork. To protect your hands, use a kitchen glove or mitt.
Start by placing the whole turkey on a cutting board. Then, locate the backbone along the center of the bird.
Place your knife alongside the spine and cut as close to it as you can, avoiding cutting any other joints.
Next, rotate the turkey 180 degrees so that the remaining breast is positioned on your dominant hand. With your opposite hand, pull the breast meat away from the rib cage and breastbone as you slice downwards.
Repeat this process with the rest of the turkey’s ribs. After you’ve removed all of the ribs, you can store them in the freezer for making turkey stock later.