How to carve a turkey

By Sondra Crane
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roast turkey
Follow these easy steps and you'll learn how to carve a turkey like a pro
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A stuffed turkey on a platter with all the trimmings on the side is perfect for any celebration or gathering.

Learning how to carve a turkey properly will take that turkey from centerpiece perfection to neat slices on your serving platter. While nothing is as impressive as a beautiful, bronzed turkey on the holiday buffet, it's much easier to carve the bird in the kitchen than at the table. Once you have finished cooking the turkey, allow it to stand about 20 to 35 minutes, depending upon its size. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the bird, resulting in succulent slices of meat. Have a warm serving platter ready prior to carving.

Legs First

Before you begin cutting your turkey, you must make sure that you have the appropriate cutting utensils, like a carving knife and fork. If you do have these pieces, make sure they are sharpened.

Arrange the turkey, breast side up, on a cutting board. Steady the turkey with your carving fork. Using a sharp knife, slice through the meat between the breast and leg. Then using the large knife as an aid, and press the thigh outward to find the hip joint. Slice down through the joint and remove the leg. Cut between the thighbone and drumstick bone to divide the leg into one thigh piece and one drumstick.

To carve the drumstick, steady it with a carving fork and cut a thick slice of meat from one side, along the bone. Next, turn the drumstick over so that the cut side faces down. Then cut off another thick slice of meat. Repeat turning the drumstick onto a flat side and cutting off meat, carving a total of four thick slices.

To slice the thigh, place it flat side down on a cutting board. Steady the thigh with a carving fork. With a knife, cut parallel to the bone and slice off the meat. Be sure to place all the cuts on the warmed serving platter as you work.

Wings Take Off

Before you carve the breast, the wings must be removed. Slice diagonally down through the edge of the breast towards the wing. Use a knife as an aid, and press the wing out to find the shoulder joint. Cut through the joint and remove the wing. Place the wing on the serving platter as is. Now comes the big part of learning how to carve a turkey…

Carve the Breast

Hold the back of the carving fork against the breastbone and try to make evenly cut slices. Start parallel to the breastbone and slice diagonally through the meat. Lift off each slice, holding it between the knife and fork, and layer them on the warm serving platter. Continue until you have carved all the meat on one side of the breast. Carve the other side of breast in the same fashion.

Roast turkey, once reserved only for Thanksgiving and Christmas, is such a healthy and enjoyable meal that it's now showing up on dining room tables year round. A large turkey with all the trimmings is loaded with protein, and is relatively low in fat. Turkeys also come in smaller sizes, which makes it easier for couples or smaller families to enjoy a celebration type family dinner anytime of the year.

Once you learn how to carve a turkey, you can serve this delicious and nutritious bird to your family any month of the year.

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