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Video:How to Carve a Turkey

with Erica Wides

Impress everyone at your dinner table by sharpening your turkey carving skills.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Carve a Turkey

Hi. I’m Chef Erica Wides from Chefsmartypants.com, here for About.com. You cook a beautiful golden turkey, for a holiday, for a celebration, and then you panic because you don’t know how to carve it. I’;m here to show you how to carve a turkey in a very simple, easy, methodical way.

Cut Along the Lines of the Turkey

We all know the parts of a turkey. You have the large breast. You have the two legs and you have the wings. It’s really just a matter of as with any bird, of cutting along the lines. You cut skin, the meat separates apart. It’s really pretty simple. I’m going to show you how to do it. The first thing we’ll do is cut the skin that connects the leg to the breast. So, very gently come in with a nice sharp knife and just start cutting that skin.

By cutting the skin, you’ll actually be able to just peel away the leg, like that. And then, you’re just going to “pop.” See how the joint just popped right out. Stand her up on her head. Like that and follow along the cavity. Separate that right out at the joint, like that, and you’re good to go. You don’t have to cut any bone. You don’t have to do much cutting at all. You saw I just cut that skin and I popped. There’s my leg and thigh section.

Keep Cutting the Turkey Skin

Same idea. Just cut the skin. And once you have that skin separating the two sections, cut you can just come in and again just pop. Sometimes you have to do a little cutting down here, right by the tail. Make sure you cut all that skin. Here we go. See that. It just breaks, right at the joint and it’s just a simple cut like that. Here’s my other leg and thigh. Now, we’ve got those removed.

Remove the Turkey Breast

Now, what I want to do is take off the breast of the turkey. So, I’m going to come in right along the breast bone here. If you run your finger along it you’ll be able to feel the breast bone underneath the meat. You’re going to take your knife and just cut on one side of that breastbone. And then get your fingers in there – and you probably won’t be able to do this at the table because you’re putting your fingers all over the bird, but that’s OK. You just excuse yourself. You come back to the kitchen and you carve. Just peel away a little bit and then use the tip of your knife to start coming back along the breastbone. And you can see how the turkey breast just peels off right along that breast bone. As long as you just use the tip of your knife to free it up. Same idea. Go right to that wing joint, and cut. Put that on your platter. We’re going to slice that up in a minute. And then, same idea with this one. I’m actually going to turn it around. I find it easier to work this way. And come down this side of the breastbone. Same idea. Make enough space so you can just get your fingertips in there.

Cut the Turkey Parts into Thin Slices

Really, all you’re doing is taking the tip of your knife and following the natural curve of the breast cavity, of this. It just curves gently and naturally separates right there from the wing and it’s off. If you want to use the wings also, you just come this way, right under that wing, same idea. When you’re ready to serve the breast meat you can actually take your knife and just slice the breast meat now into nice, thin, slices.

And, your leg and thigh meat also can be cut. What I like to do is separate the leg and thigh portion for the same idea. You come right down the middle, find that joint, and cut right through that joint. Same idea, you never have to cut bone. Just pull back and come right through the joint. And I like to slice up some of the thigh meat also, running parallel to the bone. And that way you can get some nice thin slices of dark meat on your platter also. And your guests won’t have to struggle with that thigh bone. And it’s a little bit nicer way to serve some of that dark meat up to people.

Let the Turkey Rest Before Carving

I like to let the bird rest for a while after it’s been cooked. Then, when I slice it – it’s not so hot and I can touch it with my fingers. But you can, of course, use a carving fork, or use a protective glove. So this is how you would present the turkey, sliced on the platter. Here are all of our parts. Our wing. The other side of our breast, our thigh and our other leg and thigh combo.

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