Carving a Turkey

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that enjoys cooking.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.


Executive Chef
Jun 3, 2004
From Better Homes & Gardens

Carving a Roasted Turkey

Impress your guests and family as you serve up uniform slices of bird.


Removing the drumstick.

After removing the turkey from the oven, let it stand for 15 to 20 minutes before carving to let the flesh firm up so the carved slices will hold together. Cover the bird with foil to keep it warm. (Use a sharp carving knife or an electric knife for slicing.)

Place bird on a carving board. Remove the stuffing. Then, grasp the tip of one drumstick with your fingers and pull the leg away from the body. Cut through the skin and meat between the drumstick-thigh piece and body as shown. This exposes the joint where the thighbone and backbone connect. With the tip of a knife, disjoint the thighbone from the backbone by cutting through the joint. Repeat on other side.

To separate the thigh and drumstick, cut through the joint where the leg and thigh bones meet. Repeat on the other piece.

Hold the drumstick vertically by the tip with the large end down. Slice meat parallel to the bone and under some tendons, turning the leg to get even slices.

Next, slice the thigh meat by cutting slices parallel to the bone. Repeat with the remaining drumstick and thigh.


Slice horizontally above the wing.

To carve the breast meat, make a deep horizontal cut into the breast above each wing as shown. This cut will be the end point of the breast meat slices.

Remove the wings by cutting through the joint where the wing bone and backbone meet.


Slice vertically through the breast.

To continue carving the breast meat, beginning at the outer edge of one side of the breast, cut slices from the top of the breast down to the horizontal cut as shown. Make the slices thin and even. Final smaller slices can follow the curve of the breastbone. Repeat on the other side of the breast.
I like to remove the legs and winds as you have described. But then I remove the entire breasts from both sides and cut uniform slices accross the grain. This makes the slices more tender, and assures everyone a bit of the wonderfully crisped skin. I learned this method while washing dishes at a fancy local restaurant as a young teen. :D

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
I don't bother with the undercut. I just cut straight down the breast and turn the knife out when I hit the bones. I feel I get more meat out of the breast.
Michael in FtW said:
Oh NO - Goodweed is using the Blooby Flay carving method! :twisted:

LOL I've never watched an episode of Blooby Flay. He seems a bit arrogant to me. I'd rather see Tyler Florence in action, though he's a bit too much of a lady's man on his show.

I learned the technique from a guy named , I'd better not give his name. Suffice it to say that the man, and his middle aged son were miserable to work for (It was almost child-slave-labor, and was deffinitely a sweat shop - think 12 to 13 hours day at $1.25 an hour with virtually no breaks), but a good place to learn some things. :D

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

There are HERETICS on this Board!

Okay, "chilling out", you have removed the bird early, after having done the "flipping" and all that, and "tented" that the internal temps are going to rise up to the "optimum" (and you are probably "early" in "completing", so having the bird "rest" is probably not a problem, right?)

I just "know" that there are those of you that bring the bird to the table to carve in front of the crowd (think it through! If they are seated, and there is "dinner" in view, these people just want to say "Grace" and EAT!...the show off thing of "carving" becomes akin to ...well.. "masturbation" in reality...(okay, I'm "disturbing" people again, and beat me to Hell and gone!)

So when carving the bird, it might be more adviseable to do as the MSN posts suggest, cut off the thighs and drumsticks, and render this "dark meat" as wished; cut off the wings and serve as such (I will snatch these from your hand!), cut away the "Pope's nose" (ie tailbone), and then let us carve away at those beautiful slices of breast meat, dripping (if brined, and cooked to minimum tempy's), with a slab of "skin" on the "affeciano" of "skin" and "fat" gets the "full blast" for this "patch", otherwise, its a "sealer" for the "leftovers" when they get "reheated", and melt that bit more juice into the meat...

Carving "across the grain" really makes somebody a "heretic"...poultry was in fact designed and grown to do it the other way......

I'm going to have nightmares tonoght over slices and sandwiches that just taste "wrong"...

Of course, I'll shift blame to "you guys"...

Then Heritec I be. And you curs can just take yer tough cuts and gnaw on 'em like a bone, while I be chompin' the good stuff. I'll seize the treasure while yer still a gnawin'. Now git yer hands away from them smashed spuds, or you'll be reachin' with a claw next time. (Can you tell I was watching "Pitates of the Caribean" tonight? ;)

Seeeeey; Goodweed of the North
I'm with Goodweed on this.

I also remove each side of the breast whole and slice it against the grain on a cutting board. It's easier on both me and my carving knife.

I have to question Lifter's statement that "...poultry was in fact designed and grown to do it the other way...... ". This is genetic engineering at its best!

Lifter, can we also get them to make turkeys that are a more uniform shape, like rectangular so the slices will be more uniform and fit on a slice of bread better? ;)

Latest posts

Top Bottom