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Carving the Turkey


Illustration by Kristin Solecki 


Allow the turkey to rest for 2−4 minutes per pound after removing it from the oven—this rest gives the juices time to redistribute throughout the meat. Then, with kitchen shears, cut the trussing string holding the legs together.

turkey step 2 web


Use a fork (or your hand) to balance the bird with your non-dominant hand on a level surface. In your dominant hand, use a freshly sharpened carving knife to slice the bird as close to the thigh/leg as possible. Once the skin is cut, use your hand to pull the leg away from the body, popping the joint out of the socket (a knife might be needed to help cut through the ligaments of the joint).

turkey step 3 web


Feel with your hand for the joint between the thigh and the leg. Cut through at this section, separating the drumstick and the thigh meat. Slice the meat off the thigh, or if you prefer, leave it whole. Repeat with the other side.

turkey step 4 web


Pull the wing away from the bird to locate the joint. Cut through the joint and place on a separate platter. Repeat with the other wing. Remove the wishbone and set aside for later wish making.


turkey step 6
Artwork by Jason Davis

Remaining now is the main body of breast meat. If you stuffed the bird, spoon out the stuffing and place it in a separate serving dish. Then, slice down one side of the breastplate bone, staying as close to the bone as possible. Use your fingers to pry meat away from the breastplate and ribs, continuing to cut breast meat off.


With the breast meat removed, slice in the opposite direction to create half-inch medallions (slice thinly for tenderness). Repeat on the other side. Cover with a moist towel after carving until ready to serve.

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