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Learn How to Carve a Turkey

Step 1

Look closely at the bird. It should be breast side up. Which way is it facing? Do you know? Assuming you do, place the platter so that the legs point toward your right. Insert the fork into the bird between the leg and the breast, then slice the skin between the leg and carcass down to the thighbone.

Step 2

Prodding gently with the tip of your knife, try to find the natural division where the thigh can be separated easily from the body, then remove the entire leg and thigh. If you have trouble at this critical juncture, there is no shame in resorting to the poultry shears.

Step 3

Using either your incredibly sharp knife or your poultry shears, cut the drumstick from the thigh, again following the natural separation.

Step 4

If it is a large bird, slice thick pieces of dark meat from both drumstick and thigh by cutting parallel to the bone. If the turkey is small, simply place the drumstick and thigh on the platter.

Step 5

To remove the wing, follow the same process of gently prodding with the tip of your knife to find the joint where the wing can easily be severed.

Step 6

Now carve the breast in slanting slices, parallel to the rib cage. Use long, sweeping motions, the sort of gestures a strolling violinist makes when playing a particularly emotional passage of Gypsy music and expecting a large tip. Check the side view from time to time to ensure that the slices are even and not too thick at one end or tapering into nothingness at the other. (Since carved meat cools quickly, be sure the gravy is kept piping hot on the sidelines, ready to pour over the turkey once everyone at the table has been served.) When you have finished one side of the turkey, turn it around and repeat the process on the other side.