Learn how to carve and plate the perfect turkey with our easy steps. After all, it's worth spending a little extra time prepping the main attraction on the Thanksgiving table.
Things You Will Need:
Carving knife (non-serrated blade)
Carving fork, for arranging meat
Pair of kitchen scissors
Step 1: After you've let the turkey sit for roughly 20-30 minutes to gather its juices, move it from the roasting pan to a cutting board. If you've tied the legs together to hold the stuffing in, cut off the twine and scoop out the stuffing. Then position the turkey on the cutting board breast side up with the legs facing away from you.
Tip! When carving the turkey, always hold the knife with your dominant hand and hold the carving fork in your guide hand to keep the turkey steady while you're cutting.
Step 2: The first cuts will be to remove the legs. Cut through the skin as closely as you can to where the entire leg (not just the drumstick) attaches to the body. Set your knife down and pull the leg away from the body until the joint that connects it pops out of the socket. Use your knife to cut through any remaining bone or meat that holds the legs to the bird. Put the legs off to the side.
Step 3: Remove the wings by gripping with your guide hand and pulling away from the body so you can have a clear line of sight for where to cut. Work your knife in between the body and wing to cut through the joint and remove the wing. Set the wings off to the side.
Step 4: Now you are left with the main body of the bird. Put your guide fork into the side of the bird you are not cutting from first to help steady as you begin carving. Make your first cut along the breastbone at the top center of the bird. Using the point of the knife cut down along the ribcage separating the breast meat from the body. Use your guide hand to gently push the meat away as you cut. Cut down along the bottom of the breast to completely remove the half. Repeat on the other side.
Step 5: Lay the breast meat skin side up on the cutting board and bias-cut the breast meat into slices. (A bias-cut means cutting on a 45 degree angle versus cutting in a straight line across.) Repeat with the other breast.
Step 6: Take the legs you removed previously and lay them on the cutting board with the skin facing up. Feel for the joint that connects the thigh and the drumstick. Place your knife on the joint and cut directly through. If you feel resistance it's because you're cutting on the bone, reposition and try again.
Step 7: Once you've separated the thighs and the drumsticks, hold the drumstick by the bone vertically in the air, resting it on the cutting board. Cut straight down along the bone on all sides removing the meat from the drumstick. Bias-cut the meat slices that you remove from the drumsticks.
Step 8: Laying the thighs skin side down cut along both sides of the bone as well as under the bone where the thight meat is attached. Pull the bone away from the meat. Turn the thigh pieces over and bias-cut as you've done previously with the breast meat.
Choose a serving platter and arrange the slices of meat you've cut around the platter. Many people tend to keep the white breast meat and darker thigh meat separate. Place the wings in the center and garnish with fresh herbs.