Thanksgiving Turkey Carving And Cooking Tips


Its time, the Turkey is cooked to perfection and your guests are anxiously awaiting a taste of the of they have been smelling all afternoon. All you have to do is carve it..easier said than done? If you have ever struggled with how to start carving a bird, getting enough meat off for all your guests, or just looking to prevent wasting that yummy meat, these tips are for you.

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First you want to start with you bird of choice meat side up, that is to say breast up. Then you start with the legs, remove them first this makes it easier to access the breast meat. As you separate, be careful as you will be cutting through a joint. Do the same with the wings, set a aside. The drumsticks contain the dark meat, its best to cut apart for equal sharing as to avoid a family feud for dark meat later on.

Back to the bird, now that the breast is fully exposed slide your sharpened carving knife along one side of the breast bone following the arch of the bone as you make each cut. Gently pull away each slice as you cut as to give you more room for a fresh cut. Cutting crosswise will give  you neater slices.

Continue as far down as possible, then rotate bird and continue on opposite side. Once all meat is carved, before bringing it to the table  dribble some of the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan on top of the freshly sliced meat.

Before roasting your bird, you want to make sure that you have a juicy bird and not one that is dried out.  To do this make sure to let you bird sit, defrosted, at room temperature for at least an hour before putting it into the oven.  This will allow for the skin to relax and will yield a more tender bird.

This will also allow for the internal temperature to reach an ideal 160 degrees and won’t cause the outside of it to dry out too quickly.

After the bird has been cooked you will want to let it rest so that the juices come back into the bird.  The juices are forced into the center of the bird during the roasting process so we want those back into the breast meat before cutting.  To rest the bird place it on a board or in a pan to catch the juices or drippings that will happen no matter what.  Let sit for about 30 minutes.  you can use the drippings in the gravy as well to add some flavor to it.


Sources: “The New Family Cookbook” (America’s Test Kitchen, October 2014) and “Fine Cooking Roasting” book (Taunton, October 2014).