How to Carve a Turkey – Simple Directions

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As the chefs teach you, whether you are attending a culinary class or watching a TV show on FoodNetwork, it’s not only the roasting of the turkey, it’s also about the presentation of your turkey on your Thanksgiving table that will put your guests in awe of your wonderful culinary talents! If you don’t feel confident in your cooking skills, you can certainly fool everyone with your culinary wonders in an eye catching presentation that makes their mouth water by just seeing it on your Thanksgiving table. But, if you follow this How to Roast a Thanksgiving Turkey post, you’ll do just fine.

After you’ve roasted your Thanksgiving turkey, let it rest tented with foil for about 15 minutes before you begin carving. This allows the juices to be absorbed into the meat. I remember my Dad standing at the head of the table carving the turkey in front of all our guests…in his suit. Now that I think of it, that was risky. I wonder how many suits had to go to the cleaner’s after Thanksgiving? But it probably helped to serve the turkey hot, right off the bone.

My husband doesn’t wear a suit and carves the turkey in the kitchen while I get everything else on the table, hopefully still hot. I make sure there is lots of hot gravy on the table. Also, if the turkey carving takes longer than usual, I pour broth over the sliced turkey and zap it in the microwave before bringing it to the table. Be sure to use a sharp knife and carve with long, light strokes. To keep your carving board from slipping, place a dampened paper towel or thin kitchen towel under the board.

If you want your Thanksgiving turkey to appear as if it was carved by a culinary school graduate, follow these turkey carving tips:


  • Hold end of drumstick and cut through meat between thigh and body.
  • Pull drumstick away from body, and remove by cutting through joint where thigh connects to body.
  • Separate thigh from drumstick by cutting through joints that hold them together.


  • Steady the bird with a carving fork and cut horizontally into the breast just about the wing.
  • Remove the entire breast by cutting from the top of the bird down to the horizontal cut, using the breast bone as a guide for your knife.

Finishing Touch

  • Put the breast on a cutting board and slice meat in even pieces.
  • Carve the thigh and drumstick in slices, if desired.
  • Arrange turkey slices on a serving platter.

Source: Better Homes and Garden magazine - November, 2008 - Visit for more tips

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