food How To

The Best Way to Carve a Turkey for Thanksgiving

Every Thanksgiving, families everywhere dread the final part of the meal preparation process: CARVING THE TURKEY.

Why does it have to be so difficult?

It’s not, really.  All you have to do is follow these simple steps.

Official Turkey Carver
Official Turkey Carver

First things first – get rid of that fancy electric knife.  Carving a turkey isn’t difficult if you have the proper tools to do it with, and an electric knife just gets in your way.

Nope, the first thing you need is the sharpest chef’s knife you can get.  Don’t use that honing stick that came in your multi-knife set to pretend to “sharpen” your knife before you start. That’s not a knife sharpener at all.  You need to prepare early, and take your knives to a professional knife sharpener, where you can have your knives sharpened for about $5 per blade (prices in your city may vary, but it won’t be much more than that).  Trust us, it’s worth it to have sharp knives.  Do this once a year, thank us later.

Next, ignore the OFFICIAL TURKEY CARVING INSTRUCTIONS posted by BUTTERBALL on their site.  It’ll get you where you’re going, but you won’t like the journey.

So here’s the plan, and it works really well.  Use that sharp chef’s knife like a pro, and work the turkey like this:

  • Remove the drumsticks
  • Remove the wings
  • Find the top edge of the breastbone, and slice down off one side of the breast off that bone as far as you can go.  Then, either turn the knife slightly and carve that entire breast off the bone from the top – or carve in from the bottom of the bird to your slice point. Either way you do it, the purpose is to pull the entire left or right side of the entire breast off the bird in one swoop.  Set it aside for easy-peasy carving on it’s own.  In other words, you don’t carve turkey breast slices off the bird, you do those after you take the entire breast off first.
  • Second, take the other breast half off the bird using the same method.
  • Hand those two breast hunks o’ meat off to your “helper”, and tell THEM to slice up the white meat and arrange onto a platter. You have other things to to with the rest of the bird.
  • Seriously – the hardest part of the turkey carving is over… now comes the fun part.
  • Flip the turkey over, and start carving out the dark meat, thighs.  With nothing else in your way, you should be able to piece out practically all the remaining meat on the bird within minutes.

Of course, if you want your carving to look fancy, then follow these similar directions (with photos!) as posted on SERIOUS EATS’ TURKEY CARVING GUIDE.

Gobble Gobble!