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Carving Turkey Like a Pro | Tuesday's Tip of The Day!

Yes, a grand 12 plus pound turkey can be intimidating as it’s big, hot, slippery and juicy, but before you hand over the carving knife and fork, let’s roll up our sleeves and do it together!

Carving Knife: First of all, a sharp carving knife and fork are essential! Sur La Table offers sharpening services year-round and sometimes even offers free sharpening services right before the holidays.

Cutting Board: If you don’t have a rimmed cutting board, consider placing a cutting board inside a large rimmed baking sheet which will catch the juices perfect for your gravy. Make sure you place a damp paper towel under the baking sheet to protect your counter and also to keep the sheet from sliding on the counter as you carve. 

Apron and kitchen towel: Carving a turkey can get messy, dress accordingly.

Rubber Gloves: If the turkey meat is too hot to touch, use clean (as in brand new and not the ones you use for washing dishes, uh-hum) 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 turkeys, but here is my verbal (and super easy) breakdown:

1.   Position the Turkey: 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 at the hip. This will help stabilize the turkey and keep it from rocking back and fourth on the counter as you carve.

2.   Remove the Wings:  Cut in between the joint bones and remove the wings. You won’t find much meat on the wings but they are great in your stock!

3.   Remove the Breasts: Find the bone that runs straight down the middle of the turkey in between the two breast plates. Position your knife on one side of the bone and slant your knife blade away from the bone releasing the entire breast.  Transfer to a carving board, thinly slice (if desired) and repeat with the second side / breast.

4.   Remove the thigh and leg combo: use your knife to cut between the joint of the thigh and carcass (the area that you dislocated during step one). Repeat with the other thigh and leg combo.

5.   Make a Wish! Next, use a small knife to remove the wishbone which is located under the neck and at the very tip of center bone which separates the breast plates.

Servings Tips:

1.   When serving turkey, consider pre-slicing the meat (breast and thigh) and separating dark and white meat on the serving platter. Any remaining bones and even the carcass can be (and should be) saved for turkey stock.

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Cheers to starting a new tradition around The Table Together!



Tiffany Lewis

Founder and true believer in the power of bringing people around The Table Together!