How To Carve A Turkey Properly

Here are some tips on how to develop a proper carving technique for turkey or chicken.

Nothing ruins a beautiful roast turkey or chicken faster than a botched carving. Not only is it unappealing to look at, but meat is wasted. Here are some instructions on how to properly carve a turkey or chicken.

One of the most important things to remember when carving is to have the proper tools. These do not have to be outrageously expensive, just the right tools for the job. First, a basic carving knife is needed. It should have a medium blade from seven to eight inches long. The blade is curved for better handling around bones. Next, a two-tined fork is needed to hold the meat secure while being carved. Often these two items are offered as a set.

Electric carving knives are also convenient for carving. Always use a wooden cutting board when using these knives to prevent damage to table or serving plate.

To prolong the life of carving knives, both electric and manual, wash blades in warm water by hand, rinse and dry well. Store in a protective container. This will prolong the life of the blades.

Before carving the turkey, let the meat sit for about half an hour. The meat will be much easier to carve and will produce neater slices. After making the first cut, the angle of the blade should not be changed. Each cut should be long and sweeping rather than short and choppy. For fowl, always cut with the grain. Other meats should be carved across the grain.


---To remove the leg (thigh and drumstick), hold the drumstick firmly with the fingers, pulling it gently away from the body of the turkey. While doing this, cut through the skin between the leg and the body.

---Press the leg away from the body with the flat side of the knife and cut through the joint joining the leg to the backbone and skin on the back. Hold the leg on a service plate with drumstick at an angle to plate. Separate drumstick and thigh by cutting down through the joint to the plate.

---To slice drumstick, hold drumstick upright at an angle to the plate and cut downward, turning drumstick to get even slices. If turkey or chicken is small, drumsticks are usually served without being sliced by carver.

---To slice a thigh, hold meat firmly with carving fork and cut slices parallel to the bone.

---Cut into white meat parallel to the wing. Make a cut deep into the breast to the body frame parallel to wing and as close to the wing as possible.

---To slice white meat, begin at the front half way up to the breast and cut thin slices down to the cut made parallel to the wing. Slices will fall away from the turkey as they are cut up to this line.

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