You’ve probably been carving your turkey wrong for years! Turns out the way you carve your turkey does matter and can make the meat more tender and juicy! Learn how to carve a turkey the right way!
You’ve been carving your turkey all wrong
Have you ever seen someone taking a nice slice off the side of a turkey that looks like it’s straight from a movie? Have you ever been that person? Well, that’s the wrong way to carve a turkey!!!! My husband Parker taught me that when you cut a turkey like that it dries out and it’s harder to chew! Turns out the way you carve your Turkey really does make a difference. If you’re cutting turkey like this then you’re not alone, but I’m here to take your perfectly cooked turkey to the next level and teach you how to carve a turkey. Don’t be this person:
Personally, I’m no discriminator of Thanksgiving turkeys and love EVERYTHING surrounding the holiday. You just can’t go wrong with fresh turkey, stuffing, potatoes, football, and pies…mmm…I could go for a pre-holiday slice right now actually. Here’s a video with a how-to on turkey carving technique.
Does the way you carve a turkey make a difference?
Just like steak and chicken, the way your carve a turkey can make all the difference! Cutting meat against the grain locks in moisture and gives you a more tender bite. Also, the meat dries out less, so not only is it better for dinner, but your leftovers will be better too! Carving off from the turkey slice by slice from the side of the breast won’t get you these results. Carving your turkey won’t take any additional time, but you will get more meat off the bird and it ends up being easier in the long run. It’s time to get that fresh turkey carved up the right way so you can wow your crowd this Thanksgiving!
How to carve a turkey the right way
After you pull the turkey from the oven, the first thing you want to do before slicing the bird up beautifully is laying a nice tin foil tent over it. Letting the turkey rest for 30 minutes after baking will let the retained moisture return to the whole bird evenly and prevent it from rushing out upon carving. This is essential for moist, tender meat.
How to carve a turkey breast:
Identify the breastbone in the center of the bird. Slice downward as close to the bone as possible and cut from the neck joint to toward the legs/drumsticks. Make a cut at the joint of the wings and then with your knife parallel to the cutting board, cut toward the breastbone until your knife meets your initial cut. This should free the breast and allow you to move it with your hands. Don’t be afraid to get your hands messing and remove and meat holding it back with your hands. Repeat with the second breast. Once the breasts are removed cut the breast from point to point in 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices depending on your preference. Place the slices on your serving platter.
How to carve a turkey leg:
There’s no real science to this one and you shouldn’t worry about it being pretty. Pull the leg away from the bird until the skin and meat tear slightly and the joint is revealed. You can either just pull the leg off the rest of the way or use your knife to cut between the leg joint separating the leg from the rest of the bird. Repeat this for the other leg. You can either eat the legs like a renaissance fair turkey leg or you can slice the meat off by holding the thing portion of the bone in hand and standing the leg up vertically and slicing off the meat as you would for corn on the cob. Remove the wings the same way.
How to carve a turkey thigh:
This process is pretty similar to the rest of the process. You can make a slice along the edge of the thigh to make it easier or you can identify the thigh, pull it back from the bird, and make a cut at the joint to remove it. Once you have removed both thighs, place one on a cutting board skin side down. Identify the thigh bone and make cuts on both sides until you are able to grab the bone and remove it with your hands. Use a paper towel for grip if necessary. Flip the thigh so it is skin side up and cut the meat from point to point the same way you did for the breasts. Repeat this process for the other thigh. Place your sliced meat on your serving platter.
How to get the most out of your turkey:
Now that all the technical cutting is complete its time to take care of the rest of the meat still attached. If you were avoiding getting messy before this…then I have some bad news for you. Use your hands to pick all of the remaining meat from the bird. Areas of high interest are the breastbone, beneath the birds in the areas surrounding the thighs, and areas where the wings were. Once you have picked all the meat off you can plate these pieces. Now that you’ve successfully deconstructed your turkey you are ready to impress your crowd with juicy, tender white and dark meat.