How to Carve a Turkey – 11 Easy Steps

    How to Carve a Turkey – If there is one meat that is associated with the Thanksgiving holiday in America, it is the Turkey bird. You can stuff it, roast it, and cook it but the real deal shall always be the carving of this mighty bird. It takes precision for one to carve the turkey. Traditionally, the carving of the meat was the responsibility of the eldest male member of a family since carving was associated with patriarchy. However, with time, the carving is done by both the female members of a household and the male ones.

    The turkey bird is available in the market in various varieties and qualities. Just like any other bird, it is one to be cooked whole. You can buy a pre-b.

    How to Carve a Turkey – Steps Explained

    How to Carve a Turkey

    Here is a step by step guide on how to carve a turkey. Follow these easy steps and never go wrong with carving a turkey:

    Step 1 – Before you begin carving a turkey, a few prerequisites should be kept in hand. These include

    • Carving Board
    • Chopping Board
    • Chef’s Knife
    • Paper towels or napkins
    • A long knife or a Boning knife
    • A pair of tongs
    • Platter to keep the turkey on

    Step 2 – Allow the roasted turkey to rest for a period of 25-30 minutes before you begin carving it. It is very important to allow the turkey to cool down and rest before you start cutting through it.

    Step 3 – A store-bought turkey comes with a string that ties its legs. Place the turkey on a carving board and using a chef’s knife, cut open the strings that hold the legs together.

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    Step 4 – The next step is to slice through the joint that connects the breast and the drumsticks. Keep slicing till you reach the joint or the bone. Next, take a paper towel and push it down on the legs separating the thighs from the bird’s body in the process.

    Step 5 – After this, separate the drumsticks and the thigh by cutting the joint that connects the two of them. Place the thighs on a chopping board to cut them later and keep the drumsticks in a platter. You can repeat the same steps with the other leg too.

    Step 6 – The next step in the process is to remove the wishbone. The wishbone is the bone that you find in the turkey’s breast. Removing the bone helps in making the carving process easier.

    Step 7 – Slicing through the breastbone is the next step in the carving process. Using a boning knife, cut through the breastbone in a downward motion. Try cutting the meat as close to the joint as possible. While cutting the meat, use your other hand to separate the breast from the bird’s body and place the meat on the platter with the drumsticks.

    Step 8 – Separate the wings from the carcass by slicing in a similar manner and place the wings on the platter.

    Step 9 – Now, concentrate on the thigh meat that you had placed on the chopping board. Hold the thigh using a pair of tongs and using a chef’s knife, remove the meat from the same and place it on the platter.

    Step 10 – Slice the breast against the skin in small pieces. You can hold the meat in place with the help of tongs or a paper towel. Place the cut meat onto the platter.

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    Step 11 – You can now dress the platter with the salad and dressings of your choice if you wish to.

    Different Types of Turkeys Used for Cooking

    The quality of the bird that you choose to cook makes all the difference in the cooking process as well as the taste of the turkey.

    Here are the most common ones that can be found easily in the market-

    #1 Frozen Turkey

    Just as the name suggests, frozen turkeys are ones that are found in supermarts. They are frozen and need to be thawed before you can cook them. Thawing a turkey properly takes a few days. If not properly thawed, eating the meat can prove to be harmful.

    #2 Fresh Turkey

    Fresh turkeys are the ones that are literally fresh from the farm. You can purchase them from a butcher or from a farm directly. It is always best to have fresh turkey when its your first time on How to Carve a turkey?

    #3 Self Basting Turkey

    Self basted turkeys are those who have been prepared with broth, salt and other seasonings already. You do not need to salt them again since this could lead to over seasoning and shall result in a dried bird.

    #4 Kosher Turkey

    This type of turkey is one that is preferred by Jews. Kosher turkeys are turkeys that are slaughtered by a Jewish butcher. These turkeys are slaughtered as per Jewish customs, drained of blood and salted.

    #5 Hormone-free Turkey

    Hormone-free turkeys are those that are free of any sort of steroids. They are reared naturally without injecting any sort of hormones in them. This also lends these turkeys an organic property.

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    The best thing to have with a turkey is always Long Island Iced Tea. Check out our process of making LIIT.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Q1. Which knife is the best for carving a turkey?

    The chef’s knife is the best to be used for the process of carving a turkey. There are various models of the same available in the market ranging in different price ranges.

    Q2. How do you prevent a turkey from turning dry after cooking it?

    To keep a turkey in a moist condition after cooking it, keep basting it with turkey or chicken broth that you had used to cook it. You can drip the broth all over the turkey before storing it in the refrigerator. The liquid shall ensure that the turkey stays moist for a long time.

    Q3. At what temperature should you ideally start to carve the turkey?

    It is always advisable to let the turkey rest for 20-30 minutes once you take it out of the oven. You should begin carving the turkey once it is at room temperature. A little too cold or a little too hot, and the slicing process becomes difficult.

    Q4. When should you stuff the turkey up?

    A lot of people make the mistake of stuffing the turkey a night before they actually cook it. One should always stuff the turkey right before cooking it. However, you can prepare the stuffing the night before if you wish to.

    Q5. How long can I store a cooked turkey in the refrigerator?

    You can store leftover turkey in the refrigerator for 3-4 days before it starts to go bad. Leftover turkey can be eaten directly or the stuffing can be used to make sandwiches.


    The process of carving a turkey is as great a process as is roasting one. Now that you know everything about the process, roast a turkey on not just thanksgiving but on whichever day you feel like celebrating. Choose the turkey of your choice- farm fresh or Kosher, and get cooking!


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