Everyday Food Blog

Thanksgiving how-to: carving the turkey

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As if roasting the perfect turkey wasn't stressful enough, too many of us are clueless when it comes to carving. As our simple how-to shows, carving the turkey is as simple as 1-2-3-4. Here's one thing you have to get over—the idea that carving is something that should be done at the table. That's where the struggle begins. Instead, trot your whole turkey table side for ooohs and aahhhs, then return it to the kitchen and do your handiwork on a roomy cutting board. Much neater and easier, and when you bring the turkey back to the table, it will be portioned for easy passing (or self-service from a buffet).

Remove the turkey from the oven when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165F, then transfer it to a cutting board, tent it loosely with foil and let it rest 30 minutes; this allows the juices to redistribute themselves in the meat. This is the perfect time to finish up your gravy and take care of any last-minute cooking.

Another tip: keep your roasting pan warm in the kitchen and pour some hot gravy into it. As you carve the turkey, place the slices in the warm gravy-coated pan, where they will stay warm and absorb some gravy at the same time. When you bring the turkey to the table, make sure to have your gravy piping hot and ready to go on the side.

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Pull each leg away from the body and slice through skin between breast and drumstick. Bend leg back until thighbone pops out of socket. Cut through joint to detach completely.

1 Pull each leg away from the body and slice through skin between breast and drumstick. Bend leg back until thighbone pops out of socket. Cut through joint to detach completely.

Keeping the blade close to the rib cage and using it as your guide, slice along each side of the breastbone to remove breasts. Cut wings off at joint.

2 Keeping the blade close to the rib cage and using it as your guide, slice along each side of the breastbone to remove breasts. Cut wings off at joint.

Cut between joint to separate thigh from drumstick. Both pieces can now be cut off the bone into slices.

3 Cut between joint to separate thigh from drumstick. Both pieces can now be cut off the bone into slices.

Slice breasts crosswise, skin side up, and arrange on a platter with dark meat and wings. Scoop stuffing from cavity.

4 Slice breasts crosswise, skin side up, and arrange on a platter with dark meat and wings. Scoop stuffing from cavity.

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