Events & Holidays

Thanksgiving Turkey Carving Tips

October 14, 2010

So, after spending days deciding whether or not you should risk cooking your first turkey dinner for Thanksgiving you finally decide that it is time for you to start a tradition within your own immediate family. Your mom always hosted Thanksgiving: turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, yams, apple and pumpkin pie. Now that you have a family of your own it is time to start the tradition knowing that one day maybe your kids will flock back to the warmth of a home cooked Thanksgiving meal just as you did for so many years.

After flipping through turkey recipes online and speaking to friends, you feel quite confident. You have opted for the traditional herb stuffing (sage, butter, pepper and lots of bread crumbs). The smell is sweeping you back to the family cottage where so many family get togethers were held: football games, Pictionary and Bailey’s by the fire. As you dice onions and celery on your cutting board, you begin to feel confident.

Suddenly it dawns on you: the carving! You picture your dad standing at the head of the table sharpening his knife and you realize, you have no clue how to elegantly carve the turkey. You are back online to find more information.

For all newcomers to turkey carving, you will need a few things: a carving fork, a sharp, smooth-edged knife, a large wooden cutting board and a decorative cutting board or a nice platter.

Carving steps:

  1. The roasted turkey needs to “rest” when it is taken out of the oven. Place the roasting pan on a large wood cutting board and loosely tent the turkey with aluminum foil. Let it stand for 20-30 minutes, this allows the turkey's juices to settle and spread evenly across the bird.
  2. After resting, carefully remove the turkey from the roasting pan and steady the bird on the cutting board. Insert the carving fork into the top of the breast to hold the turkey in place.
  3. Focus on one side of the bird at a time; begin by separating the legs from the breast by carving between the leg and the body.
  4. Divide the thigh and the drumstick. You can remove the meat from each, or leave as is, allowing your guests to do so or their plate.
  5. Remove the wing by slicing between the wing and the body. You can cut the wing in two and, again, serve as is, or remove the meat.
  6. For the breast meat, make a horizontal cut from the wing location into the middle of the bird. Then slice thin vertical pieces.
  7. Once you've carved away all the breast meat, rotate the cutting board and repeat the carving on the other side.
  8. It is best to carve the entire bird at once, arranging the remaining meat on a decorative cutting board or a nice platter.

Remember, you can always work on your presentation skills, but if the taste isn’t there, you likely won’t have many people to wow next year so focus on cooking and basting your turkey more than the carving.

To help your carving and presentation skills, visit Cutting Boards USA. Quality maple cutting boards in various shapes and sizes to suit your prepping, carving and serving needs. Puzzle shaped cutting board and cow shaped cutting board.


Wood Cutting Boards, your homegrown source for cutting boards and natural wood products.

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