The holidays are upon us and the preparations are on for the annual Thanksgiving feast. To make it easier for yourself, family and friends, here are some tips for carving your perfectly roasted or fried turkey.
After the turkey has been cooked to the proper temperature (165 degrees), let it rest for 20 minutes. This helps to keep those tasty, hot juices from running everywhere.
Ensure you have two cutting boards, a very sharp paring knife, a carving knife and carving fork or tongs. (I like to use my 9-inch filet knife.) The fork will help to hold the turkey, and the boards are for the working cleaner.
Place the turkey on the first cutting board on its back. Start by using your slicer to cut down the sides of the turkey to separate the thighs from the breast, but do not cut through the breast. Now you can cut right along the breast bone to filet the whole breast off of the turkey. Once you have taken both breasts off, set them on the second cutting board.
Start working on the dark meat. Separate the thighs from the body, after being separated, cut through the joint between the drumstick and the thighs. Set the drumsticks on the second cutting board.
Use your paring knife to cut the bone out of the thigh. Simply run the knife across both sides of the bone and pull out gently without tearing the meat. Place boneless thighs on second board.
All you have remaining are the wings (and for the more adventurous—oyster meat and tail—my favorite parts). Use your slicer to cut through the joint that holds the wings to the body, and place on the second board. Simply cut the tail off and save for yourself and use a spoon to scoop the prized oyster meat from the back. This should leave you with a beautifully cleaned turkey carcass. Reserve the carcass for soup or stock to make your pan gravy.
You have all the fabricated parts of the turkey. Now start slicing the boneless meats as thick as you want, keeping their original shapes intact. Place your sliced meats on your platter. Next, place your wings on the platter and work on your monster drumsticks.
Hold the drumstick at a 60-degree angle, pointed away from you. Start slicing meat off the bone, turning your drumstick ever so slightly. Place the dark meat near your sliced thighs and serve. The fewer bones, the less mess, and it will be easier for you and your guests to serve and eat.
I don’t use an electric knife just for the fact that it tends to shred the meat, and could throw shrapnel if you hit a bone! Have a great Turkey Day!