Once the long process of cooking your Christmas turkey is finished you want to present that festive bird to your friends and family in a way that’s both attractive and easy to eat.
Carving a turkey is something people often shy away from, fearing they’ll make a mess of it. Really, though, it’s a straightforward exercise and you won’t go wrong if you follow the steps below.
Before You Start
Make sure your knife is sharp. This is perhaps the most important rule in turkey carving. A dull knife will tear rather than cut, leaving your meat looking ragged and unappealing. More than this, though, it will make your work far more frustrating and difficult than it needs to be.
Turkeys tend to slide around during carving. If you can use a cutting board that has troughs or spikes designed to hold the bird stable, your work will be that much easier.
Ready your bird for carving by removing all skewers, string and stuffing. Do not start carving until you have “rested” your bird for at least 30 minutes after cooking.
Begin your carving with the leg. Take hold of it with one hand and pull it away from the body, slice through the skin until the hip joint is exposed. Pull more firmly on the leg until the hip joint separates, then slice between the two halves of the joint to completely remove the leg.
Thigh and Drumstick
Your next task is to separate the drumstick from the thigh. Using your finger, press into the “knee” of the leg and locate the joint. Once located, slice through the centre of the joint with your knife.
De-boning the Thigh
After separating the drumstick, you’ll be left with a thigh that has a single bone running through its centre. Slice along the sides of the bone, and then underneath it with the tip of your knife, until you are able to free the bone from the meat.
De-boning the thigh leaves you with a large piece of dark meat which can be sliced into convenient serving portions.
While the traditional method of carving breast involves removing it in slices directly from the turkey, there is a much easier method which also has the advantage of greater attractiveness on the serving plate.
Take your knife and run it along the edge of the sternum (breastbone). Make repeated slices, following the outside of the ribcage, until you can pull the whole breast away from the bird.
Place the removed breast on a board and cut into slices.
The final, small part of carving your turkey. Simply pull it away from the body, locate the joint and slice through it.
All that remains to be done now is to arrange the various cuts of turkey on a large serving platter and place before your admiring dinner guests. Bon apatite!
Learn more about carving a turkey in this video.