Simple 7 Step-by-Step Guide on How to Properly Carve a Turkey

Whether you fry or bake your bird this Thanksgiving, the moment that turkey takes its place on the table there are is immense pressure to properly carve it. 

No bones about it, even the most seasoned cooks still struggle with the technique of cutting into that succulent meat

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to properly carve a turkey:

Tools and Prep:

Large cutting board, a good long slicing knife, a large platter, and tongs. Allow your bird to rest for approximately 30 to 40 minutes before carving. 

Step 1: 

Don’t make the mistake of trying to carve a turkey while it’s sitting on the platter. Instead, prepare your bird by placing it on your cutting board. If you stuffed your bird, you will need to cut the string first. 

Step 2: 

You will want to remove the thighs and legs first. Using your long flexible chef’s knife (or a boning knife) start by cutting where the breast and drumsticks are connected. Grab a paper towel and then grab the leg making sure you are applying pressure to pull and disconnect the thigh and leg from the turkey. 

Step 3: 

After you have successfully separated BOTH thighs and drumsticks from the bird, set them aside on another plate for the time being. 

Step 4: 

Now you are ready to remove that wishbone. This important step is essential and allows the breast meat to be easily carved. Using your fingers, find it towards the front of the breast and pull it out. 

Step 5:

Those turkey breasts are now ready to be carved. Locate the breastbone and using that same long, carving knife slice in a downward motion making sure to cut as close to the bone as you can. Ideally, you will want to want to remove it in one whole piece. While slicing, use your other hand to slowly pull the breast meat away from the bone. Place your breast meat onto the cutting board. 

Step 6: 

The wings are ready to be separated from the bird. Find the joint and slowly slice through the joint. Your wing should easily separate. Set aside on your dark meat platter and repeat the same step on the other side. 

Step 7: 

Finally, it’s time to slice the breast meat. One pro tip is to make sure that you’re slicing the meat at shorter lengths making sure you are slicing against the grain so that the skin stays attached—trapping in all those juices. 

Now, if this seems like too much pressure then you can check out our blog on spatchcocking a turkey which produces a juicier bird and eliminates the pressure to carve a turkey on the spot.