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
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.
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.**
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.
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.
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