Carving a turkey is an easy process, and I’m going to highlight a couple of ways to do it. If you’re a traditionalist and carve your turkey at the table in front of your guests, then the traditional approach is the one you should take. Otherwise if you are not too worried about presentation and the “wow factor” or you will be carving up the turkey in the kitchen, then the kitchen carving method may be right for you. Either way, they are both easy.
image courtesy of ninjapoodles/flickr
The Traditional Way to Carve a Turkey
- Starting with the drumstick and thigh, push them away from the body until the hip joint is exposed. Slice through this joint until the thigh and drumstick are removed.
- With the thigh and drumstick removed as one unit, we can separate the two by slicing between the joint connecting the leg and thigh. At this point you may serve the drumstick as is, or slice the meat off of it. I always leave the drumstick as is. It comes down to personal preference.
- Carve up the turkey thigh meat by running your knife down both sides of the thigh bone, and then run the knife underneath the bone to cut it out. You then may slice up the thigh meat.
- Carving the turkey breast. From just above the wing joint toward the bottom of the turkey make a horizontal cut all the way to the breastbone in the center of the turkey. All the breast meat slices will end at this cut.
- After making the horizontal cut starting from the outside edge of the breast, start slicing downward toward your horizontal cut. I prefer my slices about a 1/4″ thick.
- Continue making these vertical slices working from the outside edge of the turkey breast inward toward the breastbone.
- Repeat all the above steps for the other side of the turkey.
The Kitchen Carving Method
- Follow steps 1 through step 3 in the Traditional Way to Carve a Turkey section.
- At the center of the turkey, along side the breastbone cut down with long strokes until the whole turkey breast comes off as one piece.
- Place the turkey breast skin side up on the cutting board. At this point you can slice up the breast into uniform pieces.
- Repeat the steps above for the other side of the turkey.
Here is a video that demonstrates the simplicity of carving a turkey using both methods.
If you are going to be carving up a turkey then you need a high quality carving knife. I use a carving knife from Chicago Cutlery, which works great. It is from a complete block set of knives, all of which work great. You can check them out here >> Chicago Cutlery 18 piece Block Knife Set.
Other people like to use an electric carving knife for carving a turkey. These work fantastic as well. Electric carving knives make if quick and easy to carve up a turkey no matter which carving method you prefer. You can check out a really electric carver here >> Electric Carving Knife