Tuesday's Tip of the Day: Carving a Turkey like a Pro!
Yes, a grand 15 plus pound turkey can be intimating. It’s big, hot, slippery and juicy. Before you hand over the carving knife and fork, let’s breakdown the bird – literally.
Carving Knife: First of all, a carving knife and fork are essential! The only thing more important than a carving knife is a SHARP carving knife. Places like Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table offer sharpening services often with a 24-hour turnaround. I highly recommend that you take all of your cooking knives, at least the ones you plan on using this week, to get a touchup. It will expedite prep, make carving easier and even, safer! A dull knife in the kitchen is an accident waiting to happen!
Cutting Board: I just learned a terrific tip about carving your turkey while keeping the juices at bay. Place a cutting board inside a large baking sheet and once the bird has cooked, allow it to rest on there. This is the best (and cheapest) option for a carving board that captures all of the delicious juices. I also recommend putting a wet towel or rubber shelf liner until the baking sheet so it doesn’t slide around your counter as you carve.
Apron and kitchen towel: This is going to get messy and hot! Dress accordingly.
Rubber Gloves: If the turkey meat is too hot to touch, use clean (brand new) kitchen gloves or double up on the throwaway (un-powdered) kind. This will help tremendously!
Carving: There are great videos on YouTube that offer step-by-step instructions on carving, but here is my verbal breakdown:
1. First, cut the cooking twine and release the legs. Using a firm grip, rotate the legs away from the bird on either side to dislocate them. This will help position the turkey and keep it from rolling around as you carve.
2. Secondly, do the same with the wings. Using your sharp carving knife, cut in between the joint bones and remove the wings. I don’t find too much meat on the arms and often throw the bones into my stock.
3. Next, run your sharp knife straight down the middle of the breast plate. In between the two breasts you will find a bone that runs from head to tail that can help guide your knife. Slant your knife to the right of the bone (for the right breast) and cut under the breast meat to separate the breast. Place on platter. Repeat on the left side.
4. Next, remove the leg and thigh combo: use your knife to cut between the joint of the thigh and carcass (where you dislocated). Repeat with the other leg and thigh combo.
5. Next, for good luck, use a small knife to remove the wishbone located at the top right above the breast meat.
6. Before serving, slice the breast meat and remove the bones (optional) from the dark meat to avoid any “messy” fabricating at the dinner table. Note: Save your bones for turkey stock, which can be made within 3 – 4 hours over simmer (another day of course!)!
7. To please your guests, keep dark meat on one side of your platter and white meat on the other.
8. And with that, you have a beautifully carved turkey ready to be passed around the table!
Cheers to starting a new tradition around the table together!
Founder and true believer in the power of bringing people around The Table Together!