Carving a turkey is a lot like giving a speech or an important toast. It’s done in grandiose fashion in front of people you hardly ever see and causes terrible embarrassment if you’re not prepared.
This year, whether you’re the lucky hostess or a newly elected patriarch commanding the turkey festivities, learn to do it right. The following step-by-step is pulled from the pages of the newly released cookbook, The Meat Cookbook. An authority on all things meat, the hefty book provides rundowns on 300 recipes, every kind of cut imaginable and, most importantly, teaches how best to avoid humiliation come carving time.
How to Carve a Turkey or a Large Goose
Only carve off as much meat as you will need because the rest of the meat will remain moist on the carcass. Serve the meat with stuffing, either from the cavity or from a separate dish.
1. Remove the wishbone. To do this, lift up or cut off a small flap of skin from the neck end. Feel for the wishbone with your fingers. Cut around it as closely as possible, then pull it out.
2. Now remove the leg. Pull it outward using a carving fork and then cut through it at the joint.
3. Divide the leg into drumstick and thigh. Then slice off the leg meat parallel to the bone, including the skin if desired.
4. Cut off the wing at the joint, including a little bit of breast meat. Divide it at the joints and carve the meat as above. Alternatively, reserve the wing for stock.
5. Carve the breast into slices, starting at the thicker (neck) end. Place the back of the fork against the meat as you carve it to hold the slices in place.
6. Repeat for the other side of the bird, but this time secure it by sticking the carving fork straight down into the carcass of the side without any meat.