If you are like most of my friends and acquaintances, you excuse yourself to the next room at the mention of carving the turkey at Thanksgiving. It is an intimidating task and often truly sets the tone for the big feast. No one wants their perfectly cooked bird hacked to pieces by an improperly trained carver!
There are two cardinal rules that you must follow: 1) make sure the turkey is done and 2) make sure you have a long, SHARP knife.
Once the turkey is taken from the oven, don’t slice into it right away. It is best to let it rest for at least 20 minutes. If you carve too soon all of the delicious juices will run out, leaving the turkey meat dry.
To start off, remove the drumstick. Grab the end and pull gently away from the turkey. Slice through the skin and meat, down to the joint. Once you find the joint, cut it firmly but smoothly. Most people leave the drumsticks intact for the kids to enjoy but you can also slice the meat into medium sized chunks.
Next, remove the wing. Pull it away from the body to expose the point of attachment then cut all the way through the joint, skin and meat.
Make a horizontal cut along the breastbone. Place your knife at the bottom curve of the turkey breast and slice in toward the rib cage until you reach the bone. Use your free hand to steady the bird by holding onto the thigh.
Slowly and smoothly carve the turkey breast in downward-slanting slices. Start with a small slice. As you cut, the slices will get larger. As they come off the bird, stack the slices as neatly as possible on a serving platter.
Remove the thigh by slicing down between thigh and body until you hit the joint. Once you have made this cut, use your hands to pull the thigh away from the turkey until you hear the ball joint pop. Once that happens, pick up your knife again and cut through the joint. You can slice the thigh meat by cutting parallel to the bone.
Repeat on other side of bird and you will be the new hero of Thanksgiving!