Carving a turkey means to cut thin slices with a long, sharp knife from a cooked turkey for serving. It also involves disassembling the fowl somewhat. The wings and legs must be sliced off, both to get at the meat behind them, and for serving them to anyone desirous of the darker meat they contain. The carving is almost always done while the cooked turkey is still warm from the oven.
There are many different techniques for carving a turkey. Here is a basic one for beginners that will bring success.
- Cut each leg off from the bird at the joint. Then, cut each leg into the thigh and drumstick parts. Set aside.
- Cut the wings off through the joint, and set aside.
- Cut off one breast completely by cutting straight down along the breast bone, and then cutting horizontally in at the bottom of the breast. Lay the breast on the cutting board, and cut into slices.
- Repeat for the other breast when needed.
Turkey carving notes
- The carving should be started a few minutes before people begin serving hot food items onto their plates, so that food does not get cold while the carving happens;
- If you carve a half-hour or so in advance, cover the platter with tin foil to keep the meat warm and stop it from drying out;
- If you carve several hours in advance, refrigerate the turkey and reheat in microwave to serve;
- It used to be considered “gauche” to stand when carving a turkey at the table, but most people feel that it has now become acceptable to stand while carving.