How to Carve a Turkey: Step-by-Step Photos

How to Carve a Turkey: Step-by-Step Photos

There are 8 cuts of meat to the turkey: 2 wings, 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks. These very basic tips will get you through the breakdown of the bird on its big day. (For extra direction, click on our How to Carve a Turkey video.)

How to Carve a Turkey

thanksgiving turkey
1. Line up all the equipment you need — sharp knife, a cutting board with a lip to catch any juices, a platter or two for service — and the turkey itself. You want the turkey’s legs and open cavity facing you as you carve.

How to Carve a Turkey

how to carve a turkey - remove breast
2. Begin with the backbone: using your knife, follow the skeleton of the turkey, and glide down the rib cage. **If your knife meets resistance, don’t force it. Be sure to use the backbone as your guide.**

how to carve a turkey - breast meat

how to carve a turkey - cut breast step 3

how to carve a turkey - breast step two
Make a cut at the side of one breast to completely remove the breast and wing.

how to carve a turkey - cut breast step 4

how to carve a turkey - picture o the breast removed

how to carve a turkey - remove the wing
3. Using the backbone as your guide again, remove the second breast and wing. To separate the wing from the breast, pull them in separate directions to expose the joint; use your knife to cut the pieces apart.

how to carve a turkey - cut the thigh
4. Next, cut the skin between the thigh and body of the bird. Using your hands, pop the thigh out of the joint (you will hear a sound — don’t be alarmed). Using your knife, cut the thigh away from the body.

5. Do the same with the thigh on the second side.

how to carve a turkey thigh
6. Place the thighs on the cutting board. Pull apart the thigh and drumstick to expose the joint. With your knife placed in the middle of the joint, cut the piece in half. Do the same with the second thigh.

7. Set aside the leftover bones for a delicious homemade turkey stock later.

–pics by Molly, direction by Caitlin



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