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Carving the Perfect Turkey

Carving the Perfect Turkey

Chef Caitlin Steininger teaches us how to perfectly carve a turkey.

Photo courtesy of Maryse Chevriere

Thanksgiving turkey

Now that it is getting cooler, it’s time to pull out chunky sweaters and warm boots. Holiday decorations are next, and in our house, out with the garland comes our favorite family movie, Christmas Vacation. Of course, my husband is no Clark Griswold, and we don’t exactly have an Uncle Eddie, but just like in the movie, there is always a chance that our turkey could ruin dinner. After all, everything will be okay if the veggies are burnt or the cranberry sauce is too saucy, but we all know there’s no forgiving turkey anything less than delicious and perfectly carved.

As Thanksgiving is only weeks away, I’ve resigned myself to cooking our family’s turkey. But carving it is another story. By the time we get to the table, I’m there to enjoy the meal, not stare down the bird. So this year, I challenge someone else in the family to carve the turkey. It’s one of the easiest jobs to have, actually. With the right tools and some solid know-how, anyone can do it.

I challenge you too. Be in charge of breaking down the bird for your family this year. Use the very basic tips below to dazzle and delight every single hungry face at your Thanksgiving dinner table.

Click here to see How to Carve a Turkey


Carving the bird before you take it to the table gives really good results every single time. We show you each step here. Alternatively, scroll to the bottom of the feature for tips on how to carve at the table.

  1. First up, you want to get one of the wings off. Because your bird has rested, the wing should pull away from the body easily, or you can cut through the joint where it meets the carcass.
  2. Slice down where the legs meet the body, and take the legs off in one piece – don’t separate the drumstick at this stage.
  3. Feel along the turkey’s backbone and slice down the side of it, to remove the whole breast in a single piece. Lift the breast onto a platter or chopping board.
  4. Take the breast off the other side in one piece.
  5. Place all your turkey joints on a board or platter.
  6. Turn the carcass over to slice off any dark meat from the underside .
  7. Place the breast skin-side up on a platter or chopping board, then continue along, carving off thick slices. The fact that there’s no bone means that even the most novice of cooks can carve like a chef!
  8. Separate the drumstick from the thigh, and carve the dark thigh meat.
  9. Transfer the dark and white meat to a platter, then pour over a little gravy so it doesn’t dry out.
  10. Take your platter to the table and let everyone help themselves. Easy!

Carving the bird before you take it to the table gives really good results every single time. We show you each step here. Alternatively, scroll to the bottom of the feature for tips on how to carve at the table.

  1. First up, you want to get one of the wings off. Because your bird has rested, the wing should pull away from the body easily, or you can cut through the joint where it meets the carcass.
  2. Slice down where the legs meet the body, and take the legs off in one piece – don’t separate the drumstick at this stage.
  3. Feel along the turkey’s backbone and slice down the side of it, to remove the whole breast in a single piece. Lift the breast onto a platter or chopping board.
  4. Take the breast off the other side in one piece.
  5. Place all your turkey joints on a board or platter.
  6. Turn the carcass over to slice off any dark meat from the underside .
  7. Place the breast skin-side up on a platter or chopping board, then continue along, carving off thick slices. The fact that there’s no bone means that even the most novice of cooks can carve like a chef!
  8. Separate the drumstick from the thigh, and carve the dark thigh meat.
  9. Transfer the dark and white meat to a platter, then pour over a little gravy so it doesn’t dry out.
  10. Take your platter to the table and let everyone help themselves. Easy!

Carving the bird before you take it to the table gives really good results every single time. We show you each step here. Alternatively, scroll to the bottom of the feature for tips on how to carve at the table.

  1. First up, you want to get one of the wings off. Because your bird has rested, the wing should pull away from the body easily, or you can cut through the joint where it meets the carcass.
  2. Slice down where the legs meet the body, and take the legs off in one piece – don’t separate the drumstick at this stage.
  3. Feel along the turkey’s backbone and slice down the side of it, to remove the whole breast in a single piece. Lift the breast onto a platter or chopping board.
  4. Take the breast off the other side in one piece.
  5. Place all your turkey joints on a board or platter.
  6. Turn the carcass over to slice off any dark meat from the underside .
  7. Place the breast skin-side up on a platter or chopping board, then continue along, carving off thick slices. The fact that there’s no bone means that even the most novice of cooks can carve like a chef!
  8. Separate the drumstick from the thigh, and carve the dark thigh meat.
  9. Transfer the dark and white meat to a platter, then pour over a little gravy so it doesn’t dry out.
  10. Take your platter to the table and let everyone help themselves. Easy!

Carving the bird before you take it to the table gives really good results every single time. We show you each step here. Alternatively, scroll to the bottom of the feature for tips on how to carve at the table.

  1. First up, you want to get one of the wings off. Because your bird has rested, the wing should pull away from the body easily, or you can cut through the joint where it meets the carcass.
  2. Slice down where the legs meet the body, and take the legs off in one piece – don’t separate the drumstick at this stage.
  3. Feel along the turkey’s backbone and slice down the side of it, to remove the whole breast in a single piece. Lift the breast onto a platter or chopping board.
  4. Take the breast off the other side in one piece.
  5. Place all your turkey joints on a board or platter.
  6. Turn the carcass over to slice off any dark meat from the underside .
  7. Place the breast skin-side up on a platter or chopping board, then continue along, carving off thick slices. The fact that there’s no bone means that even the most novice of cooks can carve like a chef!
  8. Separate the drumstick from the thigh, and carve the dark thigh meat.
  9. Transfer the dark and white meat to a platter, then pour over a little gravy so it doesn’t dry out.
  10. Take your platter to the table and let everyone help themselves. Easy!

Carving the bird before you take it to the table gives really good results every single time. We show you each step here. Alternatively, scroll to the bottom of the feature for tips on how to carve at the table.

  1. First up, you want to get one of the wings off. Because your bird has rested, the wing should pull away from the body easily, or you can cut through the joint where it meets the carcass.
  2. Slice down where the legs meet the body, and take the legs off in one piece – don’t separate the drumstick at this stage.
  3. Feel along the turkey’s backbone and slice down the side of it, to remove the whole breast in a single piece. Lift the breast onto a platter or chopping board.
  4. Take the breast off the other side in one piece.
  5. Place all your turkey joints on a board or platter.
  6. Turn the carcass over to slice off any dark meat from the underside .
  7. Place the breast skin-side up on a platter or chopping board, then continue along, carving off thick slices. The fact that there’s no bone means that even the most novice of cooks can carve like a chef!
  8. Separate the drumstick from the thigh, and carve the dark thigh meat.
  9. Transfer the dark and white meat to a platter, then pour over a little gravy so it doesn’t dry out.
  10. Take your platter to the table and let everyone help themselves. Easy!

Carving the bird before you take it to the table gives really good results every single time. We show you each step here. Alternatively, scroll to the bottom of the feature for tips on how to carve at the table.

  1. First up, you want to get one of the wings off. Because your bird has rested, the wing should pull away from the body easily, or you can cut through the joint where it meets the carcass.
  2. Slice down where the legs meet the body, and take the legs off in one piece – don’t separate the drumstick at this stage.
  3. Feel along the turkey’s backbone and slice down the side of it, to remove the whole breast in a single piece. Lift the breast onto a platter or chopping board.
  4. Take the breast off the other side in one piece.
  5. Place all your turkey joints on a board or platter.
  6. Turn the carcass over to slice off any dark meat from the underside .
  7. Place the breast skin-side up on a platter or chopping board, then continue along, carving off thick slices. The fact that there’s no bone means that even the most novice of cooks can carve like a chef!
  8. Separate the drumstick from the thigh, and carve the dark thigh meat.
  9. Transfer the dark and white meat to a platter, then pour over a little gravy so it doesn’t dry out.
  10. Take your platter to the table and let everyone help themselves. Easy!

Carving the bird before you take it to the table gives really good results every single time. We show you each step here. Alternatively, scroll to the bottom of the feature for tips on how to carve at the table.

  1. First up, you want to get one of the wings off. Because your bird has rested, the wing should pull away from the body easily, or you can cut through the joint where it meets the carcass.
  2. Slice down where the legs meet the body, and take the legs off in one piece – don’t separate the drumstick at this stage.
  3. Feel along the turkey’s backbone and slice down the side of it, to remove the whole breast in a single piece. Lift the breast onto a platter or chopping board.
  4. Take the breast off the other side in one piece.
  5. Place all your turkey joints on a board or platter.
  6. Turn the carcass over to slice off any dark meat from the underside .
  7. Place the breast skin-side up on a platter or chopping board, then continue along, carving off thick slices. The fact that there’s no bone means that even the most novice of cooks can carve like a chef!
  8. Separate the drumstick from the thigh, and carve the dark thigh meat.
  9. Transfer the dark and white meat to a platter, then pour over a little gravy so it doesn’t dry out.
  10. Take your platter to the table and let everyone help themselves. Easy!

Carving the bird before you take it to the table gives really good results every single time. We show you each step here. Alternatively, scroll to the bottom of the feature for tips on how to carve at the table.

  1. First up, you want to get one of the wings off. Because your bird has rested, the wing should pull away from the body easily, or you can cut through the joint where it meets the carcass.
  2. Slice down where the legs meet the body, and take the legs off in one piece – don’t separate the drumstick at this stage.
  3. Feel along the turkey’s backbone and slice down the side of it, to remove the whole breast in a single piece. Lift the breast onto a platter or chopping board.
  4. Take the breast off the other side in one piece.
  5. Place all your turkey joints on a board or platter.
  6. Turn the carcass over to slice off any dark meat from the underside .
  7. Place the breast skin-side up on a platter or chopping board, then continue along, carving off thick slices. The fact that there’s no bone means that even the most novice of cooks can carve like a chef!
  8. Separate the drumstick from the thigh, and carve the dark thigh meat.
  9. Transfer the dark and white meat to a platter, then pour over a little gravy so it doesn’t dry out.
  10. Take your platter to the table and let everyone help themselves. Easy!

Carving the bird before you take it to the table gives really good results every single time. We show you each step here. Alternatively, scroll to the bottom of the feature for tips on how to carve at the table.

  1. First up, you want to get one of the wings off. Because your bird has rested, the wing should pull away from the body easily, or you can cut through the joint where it meets the carcass.
  2. Slice down where the legs meet the body, and take the legs off in one piece – don’t separate the drumstick at this stage.
  3. Feel along the turkey’s backbone and slice down the side of it, to remove the whole breast in a single piece. Lift the breast onto a platter or chopping board.
  4. Take the breast off the other side in one piece.
  5. Place all your turkey joints on a board or platter.
  6. Turn the carcass over to slice off any dark meat from the underside .
  7. Place the breast skin-side up on a platter or chopping board, then continue along, carving off thick slices. The fact that there’s no bone means that even the most novice of cooks can carve like a chef!
  8. Separate the drumstick from the thigh, and carve the dark thigh meat.
  9. Transfer the dark and white meat to a platter, then pour over a little gravy so it doesn’t dry out.
  10. Take your platter to the table and let everyone help themselves. Easy!

Carving the bird before you take it to the table gives really good results every single time. We show you each step here. Alternatively, scroll to the bottom of the feature for tips on how to carve at the table.

  1. First up, you want to get one of the wings off. Because your bird has rested, the wing should pull away from the body easily, or you can cut through the joint where it meets the carcass.
  2. Slice down where the legs meet the body, and take the legs off in one piece – don’t separate the drumstick at this stage.
  3. Feel along the turkey’s backbone and slice down the side of it, to remove the whole breast in a single piece. Lift the breast onto a platter or chopping board.
  4. Take the breast off the other side in one piece.
  5. Place all your turkey joints on a board or platter.
  6. Turn the carcass over to slice off any dark meat from the underside .
  7. Place the breast skin-side up on a platter or chopping board, then continue along, carving off thick slices. The fact that there’s no bone means that even the most novice of cooks can carve like a chef!
  8. Separate the drumstick from the thigh, and carve the dark thigh meat.
  9. Transfer the dark and white meat to a platter, then pour over a little gravy so it doesn’t dry out.
  10. Take your platter to the table and let everyone help themselves. Easy!