GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

Don't stumble at the last hurdle—Ted Rosen of Dickson's Farmstand Meats will show you how to cut up a bird like a pro.

turkey_carving

Photo and GIFs by Liz Barclay (@liz_barclay)

If you’re on carving duty this year, don’t psych yourself out. All you have to do is imagine everyone naked and…oh wait, that’s something else. Grandma’s here. Damn it!

To really learn how to carve like a champ, we stopped by Dickson’s Farmstand Meats to break down a bird with butcher Ted Rosen. Some things to keep in mind before you get started:

  1. Let the bird sit for 15-20 minutes after it comes out of the oven. This resting time will lock in the juiciness and also make the meat a lot easier to cut.
  2. Use a really, really sharp knife.
  3. Carve in the kitchen, not at the table in front of everyone. There’s no need to put that pressure on yourself.
  4. Work with clean hands—you can use tongs or a meat fork (especially i you foolishly decide to go the exhibitionist route), but Rosen says clean hands and a knife are just as good.
  5. Make sure your turkey is sitting on a sturdy cutting board—you can put a wet kitchen towels beneath the bird to prevent it from slipping.

Got it? Great. Now pour yourself a stiff glass of bourbon and let’s do this thing.

How to Carve a Turkey

Push your fingers into the top of the bird to find the keel bone, then begin to slice along one side of it.

8637 1 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

Cut all the way down until you hit the wishbone and your knife can’t go any further.

8638 1 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

Score along the bottom side of the breast.

8638 2 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

Grab the breast and pull it out, using the knife if necessary to cut away any meat still connected to the carcass. (This should be done the same way on both sides so you have to two full, beautiful breasts.)

8638 3 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

Cut your beasts into slices of whatever size you prefer. If you let your bird cool properly, the skin should stay on so that everyone gets that extra bit of flavor in their breast meat.

8639 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

Next, score around the top side of the wing.

8646 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

Pry it back to expose the joint connecting the wing to the body.

8644 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

Cut through the joint and pull off the wing.

8647 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

Cut the wing in half. You can serve these two pieces as they are.

8648 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

To remove the legs, run the knife between each leg and the body to loosen it up.

8649 1 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

Then pull back leg—it should just come right off pretty easily, but you can use your knife to cut through any bits that aren’t coming free.

8649 2 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

You can serve the drumsticks whole, but why not get some of that dark meat for everyone? To do this, hold it upright on the cutting board. “If you go really far in there’s a lot of nasty tendons and stuff in the drumstick, so just carve down until all the meat is off,” says Rosen.

8650 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

Next, work knife between body and thigh.

8654 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

Pull off the thigh, using the knife if you need to.

8651 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a TurkeySlice up the thigh—expect this meat to shred and fall apart pretty easily.

8657 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

If the oyster didn’t come off with the thigh, pull it off now—it’s that dark piece of meat between the thigh and the back. ”It’s a muscle that, especially on flightless birds, doesn’t get used that much,” says Rosen. “It’s dark meat and it’s really tender.”

8658 2 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

At this point, simply use your hands to pull off any remaining meat on the carcass—and don’t forget the back meat!

8658 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

And there you have it—perfectly carved and ready for action.

carving 2 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

Flawless victory.

carving 1 GIF Tutorial: How to Carve a Turkey

RELATED: How to Truss a Turkey

  • john

    Beautifully done!

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