How to Properly Carve a Turkey
Bert from High Country Smokers has written an excellent write up for the Institute of Man just in time for the holiday season on turkey carving done right. You see its not just slicing the turkey and pulling off hunks of meat. It’s an art. It takes precision cutting and pre-planning on the turkey festivities. Not only that, as the man of the house, its the expectation that you will carve this turkey with great precision. With that in mind we hope you find these few tips helpful.
Remember prior to cutting your turkey you need to make sure you have the appropriate tools of the trade. If you don’t have proper carving knives, now is the time to invest in them. Keep in mind, most accidents in the kitchen happen because we have dull knives, not sharp knives.
I like to carve my turkey while it is still hot. Wait at least 15 minutes after taking it out of the heat source (oven, smoker, deep fryer). If you do this it will come away from the bone much easier with out tearing the meat.
Of note all of my rational for carving a turkey is based on cooking for competition which is why I prefer a roast knife vs a serrated edge knife for carving.
Start by placing the knife along the breast bone. If you have a good knife and you *brined your turkey the night before you cooked it, the breast should come away from the bone in one solid slice of the blade. If not, gently pull on the breast while you slice it with your knife.
You do not want to use the knife in a sawing motion as you will tear the meat and it will not be as appealing.
After you have removed both breasts move to the legs. Pull the leg towards the top of the turkey and slice through the skin that is attached to the thigh. Again if you cooked it long enough (and brined it) the leg should separate at the joint and you should not have to cut through any bone.
If it does not come apart, place the edge of your blade in the joint between the knuckles and pop the joint apart. This will not dull your blade and you will not have to worry about any bone fragment. Next you should be able to pull the thigh meat away from the bone with little effort. The same can be said for the wing.
If you’re going to make any turkey stock after wards, its important to grab the remainder of the carcass drop it into a pot with onions, celery, carrots and simmer for 3-4 hours, remove the bones, meat etc and you’ll have an excellent stock for future use.
We hope this helps you on your way to having a manly thanksgiving.