Turkey Carving 101

There are many ways to slice up a chicken but there is only one way to carve up a Thanksgiving Day Turkey

For many households a Thanksgiving dinner officially starts with the ritual of carving up the bird. This must be done properly and with style to set the ambiance for the rest of the meal. You will need a few essential utensils to accomplish this task including a cutting board with grooves to capture the juices, a long handled fork to hold the bird while you carve and a good sharp carving knife.

Before beginning, remove the stuffing from the bird and let it sit for about 15 minutes. This allows the juices to settle to the bottom of the bird and reduces burned fingertips. Place the bird breast side up on the cutting board, with the legs pointing toward you. Grasp the leg and thigh area with your hand and apply a gentle downward pressure until you hear the hip joint pop. While keeping the pressure on the leg, slice through the thigh and the breast section, remove the leg and thigh and place it on the serving platter. Repeat the process on the other side of the bird.

Removing the wings is similar to leg removal. The only difference is you pull the wing away from the bird instead of applying downward pressure. Be sure to cut through the joint where the wing attaches to the body and remove the whole wing, drumette and wing tip. Place the wing section on the platter and repeat on the other side.

Now it is time for the main section, the white meat. First, make a horizontal cut through the bottom section of the breast all the way through to the rib cage. This is the trickiest and most important step, as it sets your vertical cuts to come out uniformly. A very sharp knife is essential to the process. Using a smooth even stroke (not a sawing motion), slice straight down starting from about half way up the breast. The pieces should fall easily off the bird because of your initial horizontal cut. Place the pieces in the center of your serving tray and repeat on the other side using the same technique.

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