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how to carve a turkey


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Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total: 15 minutes


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Step 1

Start with one leg and use your knife to slice through the skin and meat toward the leg joint while at the same time gently pulling the leg back and separate it from the rest of the turkey.  As you gently pull it, listen for the joint to "pop", meaning that the thigh bone popped through.  You don't want to cut right through the joint! Then gently cut away any additional skin and meat around the joint and remove the leg from the body.  Set aside the thigh and drumstick and repeat this process with the remaining leg.

Step 2

Remove the wishbone next so that it's extra easy to cut away the breast meat.  Plus, then you can make a wish!  Locate the front neck cavity of the bird (where the head would be) and cut away the skin from the opening of the neck so that you have a window into the neck cavity.  The wishbone runs along the neck cavity in an upside down "v".  Use your hands to feel for the bone then gently cut along the wishbone and pull it down and out of the bird.

Step 3

First locate the keelbone AKA breast bone that runs all the way down the center of the carcass, separating the two turkey breasts. Take your knife and cut down center on one side of the keelbone.  Slice downward, following the curve of the breast bone and cutting and separating the breast meat from the bone until the entire breast is free.  Set breast meat aside and repeat this process with the other turkey breast.

Step 4

Gently pull the wings away from the body and use your knife to cut around the skin and meat and cut through the joint. Remove the wing, set it aside, and remove the other joint.

Step 5

Slice against the grain!  The most important part of carving the meat is to cut it the correct way.  Cutting against the grain means cutting the meat opposite of the direction that the natural muscle fibers run.  If you look at each piece of your carved turkey meat, you'll see its all "running" or pointing the same direction.  Be sure to cut it opposite of this which will help ensure that the meat is tender and not chewy.

Step 6

Try to preserve the skin. Cut as carefully through the skin as you can (with a sharp knife) so that each slice of turkey has its skin still attached.

Step 7

Separate the drumstick from the thigh by placing it skin side down on your cutting board and cutting right through the natural seam of the joint.

Step 8

Keep the turkey warm: Cover it with aluminum while carving to keep it warm.

Step 9

Save the turkey carcus: Use rest of circus to make homemade chicken broth or freeze it and make broth another day!