A whole roasted turkey is a sight to behold. So is a beautifully-arranged platter loaded with succulent slices of meat. Our method involves removing all the meat from the bird and then slicing it, rather than cutting pieces straight off the turkey. We also remove the legs whole (go ahead and claim one for yourself!) and include tips for cutting the turkey breast. Read on to learn how to carve a centerpiece-worthy turkey.
Step-by-Step Instructions: Carving a Whole Turkey
Hold the turkey steady with the fork. Use a knife to slice through the skin between the drumstick and breast.
2Remove drumsticks first
Using a paper towel, hold the drumstick with your hand and bend the drumstick up at the “knee joint.” It should be fairly loose and may come off without the help of the knife. If not, use knife to loosen. Place drumstick on the platter and repeat, starting with step 1, on the other one.
3Then remove thighs
Hold the turkey in place with the fork. Use the knife to cut the thigh away from the body at the hip joint. You may need to use the tip of the knife to loosen that joint and work the thigh meat off. Transfer to the carving board. Repeat with the other thigh. Leave the thighs whole, or carve the meat from the bones and transfer the meat to the platter.
4Slice along breast bone
Find the breast bone. This is the large bone that runs down the middle of the bird, the length of the turkey breast. Using a long flexible, knife, cut down one side of the breast bone from the neck to the open end of the body cavity, staying as close to the bone as possible. This might take a few cuts.
5One more cut
Now make another long cut at the bottom of the rib cage, starting near the wing joint to end of the bird.
6Remove the breast meat
Cut the breast meat in a single piece away from the rib cage and transfer it to the carving board. Trim any meat that might have been left on breast bone. Repeat with the other side starting with step 4.
7Finally, remove the wings
It is best to keep the wings in place to this point because they help stabilize the bird and keep it from rolling. Use the tip of the knife to sever each wing at its shoulder joint. Keep the wings whole, or chop each at the first joint (that was closest to the shoulder) to make two pieces.
8Slice breast meat
Now cut each large breast portion crosswise into ½-inch slices and place on platter.
9Plate and serve
Position all meat on platter and serve!