Tips for your perfect Thanksgiving Turkey!
Having a golden brown turkey as the centerpiece of a large family gathering, may it be for Thanksgiving or a special get-together, has been an American tradition for many years. Every year millions of turkeys are getting fattened up for the upcoming fall and winter season. They are available to purchase in all sizes, from small turkey breasts which feed 2 – 4 people to large turkeys that easily feed a gathering of twelve or more.
If this is your first time being in charge of preparing, and carving a turkey for your family, or if you’re looking to improve last years feast, then you will need to take a look at the following turkey carving tips. Scroll down for our favorite, and easiest, turkey recipe.
Tips For Carving A Roast Turkey
- Let the turkey rest – After your turkey is fully cooked, remove it from the oven, cover with tin foil and let it rest for 15 – 30 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the bird and also gives you time for the finishing touches on the rest of your meal.
- Have a platter ready –Be sure to place all the cuts you have made on a warmed serving platter as you work.
- Remove the legs – Place the bird, breast up on a large cutting board and hold it steady with a large carving fork. Use a sharp kitchen knife, like this Al Mar 9.5 inch Gyuto knife, if you’re carving a large bird. Slice through the meat between the breast and the leg. Press the thigh outward to find the hip joint, slice down through the joint and remove the leg. Cut between the thigh bone and drumstick bone to divide the leg into one thigh piece and one drumstick.
- Carve the drumstick – Steady it with a carving fork and cut a thick slice of meat from one side, along the bone. Turn the drumstick over so that the cut side faces down and cut off another thick slice of meat. Repeat, turning the drumstick onto a flat side and cutting off meat, carving a total of four thick slices.
- Slice the thigh – Place it flat side down on a cutting board and steady the thigh with your carving fork. Cut parallel to the bone and slice off the meat.
- Take off the wings – Remove both wings before you start to carve the breast meat. Twist the wings off or slice diagonally down through the edge of the breast toward the wing. Press the wing out to find the shoulder joint and cut through it. Remove the wing, and place on the serving platter.
- Carve the Breast – Hold the back of the carving fork against the breastbone. Starting parallel to the breastbone, slice diagonally through the meat. Lift off each slice, holding it between the knife and fork, and layer them on the warm serving platter. Continue until you have carved all the meat on one side of the breast. Carve the other side of breast in the same fashion.
- Alternative breast carving: Some cooks find it easier to remove the breast before carving the rest of the turkey. To try this version, cut down along the breastbone and separate the breast from the turkey. Lay the breast half skin side up and cut across the grain. Repeat with the other breast, then finish carving the turkey using the steps above.
- Garnish your platter and let the feasting begin!
Traditionally the turkey gets sliced at the table, in front of everyone, but we think your guests will probably be just as happy with a plated presentation. Especially if there is a lack of elbow room at the table. Remember, you will be yielding a very large and hopefully very sharp kitchen knife.
Here is a great video on ‘How to Carve a Turkey with Hosea Rosenberg’:
Easiest Roasted Turkey Recipe Ever
With prep time of only 10 minutes or less, this easy turkey recipe can’t be beat and turns out wonderful every time.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees C). Pull the neck and giblets out of the cavity, throw away the liver but if you want, you can use the neck and giblets for the gravy. Rinse the turkey under cold water and dry with paper towels. Season with sea salt and pepper on the inside and out.
Place breast-side up in a roasting pan and brush with melted butter. Don’t fill the turkey cavity, but place aromatics like chopped onions and carrots, apples or herbs around the turkey. Add 2 cups of water or chicken broth to the pan. Cover lightly with foil and roast for 2 hours. This is for a 10 to 12 pound turkey; add or subtract 15 minutes per pound for larger or smaller birds.
Remove the foil, baste with more melted butter or use a tablespoon and drizzle drippings from the pan. Set the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees Celsius) and remove the foil. Roast your turkey for another hour or until the meat at the thigh reaches 170 degrees F (76 degrees Celsius).
Let the turkey rest on the cutting board covered with foil. Finish your gravy with the drippings in the pan and carve the turkey using our tips above.
Place the carved turkey on a large, warmed serving platter and garnish with herbs and/or vegetables.
More Turkey Tips:
- Let your turkey thaw completely before cooking. In the fridge it takes about 24 hours for 5 pounds of turkey.
- Use a pizza stone or clay baker. If you don’t care about having gravy, then this baking method is perfect.
- Commercial brine poultry has more than salt and water in it. Opt for a natural free range turkey.
- Butter browns better. If you want beautiful browned turkey skin use unsalted butter instead of oils. (Use olive oil or a neutral oil like grape seed oil if you’re allergic to dairy.)
- Feel like stuffing your bird? Line the cavity with cheesecloth first, your stuffing will pull out easily, without any fuss.
We hope our turkey carving tips and recipes were helpful to make your next turkey part your best turkey dinner yet.
Do you have any helpful turkey carving tips? Please leave us your comment below.