Instructables

How to Carve a Turkey

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Picture of How to Carve a Turkey
Learn how to carve a turkey in 6 easy steps! 

You know that moment at the dinner table when everyone is sitting around the turkey, waiting with anticipation for it to be carved?  Are you the one standing there with knife and fork in hand, beads of sweat beginning to form on your forehead and upper lip, as you realize you are the center of attention and have absolutely no idea how to begin?  I mean, it looks so easy when other people do it, serving up perfectly sliced pieces, handing them out with grace.  But now that you're at the head of the table, where do you start? How do you save face and serve the bird without making a mess of it all?  

I'm here to help.  This was my first turkey too, and it was easier than I thought! So just follow along, and we'll take this one side at a time.

 
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Step 1: The Drumstick

Picture of The Drumstick
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First of all, I recommend a cutting board with a well around it to catch all of the juices that are going to run off from your bird.  And there will be a lot of juices.  Learn from my mistake.

Secondly, you don't need a special knife or fork for this.  A butcher's knife is great, and a table fork will work just fine.  But if you're in it for the glory, might as well go big and get the bone-carved handle set, right?

OK, let's get started.

Let's aim for the low hanging fruit first, and remove that drumstick.  It's easily identifiable and you can pretty much just pull the sucker off with your hands.  But let's attempt this with a scoach more grace (a Scooch more grace?).  

Pull the drumstick towards you and away from the turkey, using your knife to slice away the connecting skin.

Slowly cut through the meat surrounding the joint until it is exposed.  

Cut through the joint (or just pop it out using force) and remove the drumstick.

Whew, that was easy.  Let's continue.


Brilliant.
I love the oyster secret.
Just don't tell anybody.

KiloVision12 months ago
Thank you for this. Great 'ible as usual Scooch. I plan on putting it to use this evening.
dougbyte12 months ago
Very good and just in time
thank you very nice
These are great instructions!

I personally prefer to remove the entire breast and then slice it in the cutting board. You get the added joke bonus of putting the whole breast on your plate and walking away just to shock people. Then you return to the cutting board and slice it. Gets a rise out of new visitors every time!
oilitright1 year ago
This is a darn good primer on carving a turkey. If it wasn't so close to Thanksgiving a person might want to roast a whole chicken and take a practice run.

Only thing I can suggest is that the "any knife" will do may get some people into trouble. I'm a fiend for sharp knives. Any knife can be made to be sharp with a couple caveats some knifes will get beyond razor sharp (scary sharp) this type of knife may not hold that edge for long. That's why the guy at the carving station keep a steel to frequently refresh the edge. Other knives will stay as sharp as they ever get for a good period of time. Problem is they don't really ever get that sharp. Also knife technique is important. I see way to many people try to use a knife like a cleaver or an axe. They push down on the blade trying to push it through whatever they are cutting rather then using the blade to slice through. You see this when bread is sliced and the loaf just squished down.

While on the topic of turkeys if I may digress somewhat to the subject of stuffing and jamming it into the body cavity. Please don't shove warm freshly made stuffing into the turkey the night before and store the stuffed turkey until the next day. People die every year from doing this. Don't believe me Google it. What you can do is put the amount of stuffing you'd have put in the turkey into a roasting bag and store that in the fridge. Next day just before you pop the bird in the oven, shove the dressing filled roasting bag into the bird ( cut a few slits in the bag to allow the juices to flow into the bag for that "cooked in the bird flavor". The extra bonus is this makes getting the dressing out of the bird a breeze. No trying to scrape it out and leaving a lot in and making for a messy turkey carcass.
ldavis101 year ago
I get tired of being the only one that can carve the bird! These directions and pictures will enable anyone to carve a turkey perfectly! Thank you!
bigme2 years ago
Beautiful job the only piece of advice I can add is to remember to give your bird time to rest between the oven and carving, 20 - 30 minutes will help keep more of those yummy juices in the bird rather than on the board. Looking at your pictures looks like you did that but didn't mention it in the instructions.
Peace, Love and Turkey!
tinpie2 years ago
Oh, so thats how its done...LOL
GREAT "instructable" I love the little trick of cutting over the breast bone and then slicing into the cut...... happy thanksgiving to all...
MaskMarvl2 years ago
Great instructable... I'll defininetly give it a try... :)
Now I really want turkey :)
scoochmaroo (author)  Penolopy Bulnick2 years ago
I have 12 lbs left. Come over.
Could you send me some turkey to Colombia? LOOKS ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!!! How do you do?
scoochmaroo (author)  M.C. Langer2 years ago
Yes. You may not want to eat it by the time it gets there, and it might be cheaper for you to come here, but yes, yes I can.
Mmmmmm... going to San Francisco to taste the absolutely delicious Scoochmaroo's turkey... sounds like a wonderful idea! :-)
zurichko2 years ago
That is one pretty bird!