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How to Carve a Turkey

Tradition says slice at the table, but we think your guests will just as happy with a pretty, plated presentation.


  • Step 1: Carve in the kitchen Keep the turkey in the kitchen after it's cooked to let it cool slightly and the juices redistribute. Slicing that bird is a greasy, messy proposition, so keep your guests out of the splatter zone.
  • Step 2: Remove the legs Place the turkey on a cutting board breast-side up. As you pull one leg away from the bird, slice through the skin and the joint connecting it to the body. Repeat with the other leg.
  • TIP: Use a long, sharp carving knife. A short, dull blade will take longer, shred the meat, and increase your chance of injury.
  • Step 3: Cut the leg meat Cut through the leg joint to separate the thigh from the drumstick, and set the drumstick aside. Cut as much meat as you can off the thighbone, trying to keep it in one large piece. Cut against the grain to create slices about a quarter of an inch thick.
  • Step 4: Cut off the wings Pull one wing away from the body of the bird, and cut through the skin and the joint. Repeat with the other wing, and set the wings aside.
  • Step 5: Remove the breast in halves Remove the breast in halves. Use the breastbone as your guide, and cut down one side of it — as close to the bone as you can — so that the meat comes off in one piece. Repeat with the other half of the breast.
  • Step 6: Cut the turkey breast Place both halves of the turkey breast skin-side up on your cutting board. Slice them against the grain at a slight angle into pieces about a quarter of an inch thick.
  • Step 7: Assemble and serve On a serving platter, assemble the meat, and separate the white meat (the breast and the wings) from the dark meat (the legs and the drumsticks). Present your hungry guests with a delicious and tidy bird.
  • FACT: According to a recent study, two-thirds of Thanksgiving turkeys are cooked by women, while more than half are carved by men.

You Will Need

  • A cooked turkey
  • A cutting board
  • A carving knife
  • A serving tray

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