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Ever found yourself faced with a cooked turkey and a table of hungry guests, wondering how to carve a turkey properly? Carving a turkey can seem daunting if you’re not quite sure where to begin, but we’ve made it simple by breaking it down step-by-step so you can learn the quickest and easiest way to carve yours.
Remember to leave your turkey to rest before you attempt to carve it. ‘Anything from half an hour to an hour is completely normal’, Food Director Jane Curran tells us. This is a really crucial part to being able to enjoy your turkey as it gives time for the juices to settle and be absorbed into the meat giving you a lovely moist finish, so don’t rush into it and try to carve it before the meat has rested!
1. Remove the legs
‘You’ll see, they come away quite easily’ Jane says. Carving a turkey isn’t like deboning a chicken which can be quite tricky. Once the turkey is cooked, the legs will come away quite easily – you won’t even really need to use your knife or much force either. Set them aside once you’ve done this.
2. The breast
Next, the turkey breast. ‘Find the joint, then take the breast away as well’, Jane suggests. Guide your knife down, separating the breast from the bone, and it should come away in one big section.
3. The wings
Much like the legs that’ll come away really easily, so do the wings. They can pretty much tear off really cleanly, so this too is very easy. It’ll be hard to shred the meat from the wings later on with a big knife, so you might need to even use a fork to take the meat away. Don’t assume that because they’re small, no one will want the wings. Many people love the brown meat here and the skin, so make sure you get as much as you can off them.
At this point, you should have removed most of the meat (as much as you possibly can) from the turkey. The turkey carcass you can now use to make a stock for a lovely soup, for example. Once you’ve laid your meat out on a chopping board, use a sharp knife to slice the breast.
Do the same with the legs, trying to get as much meat from them – this might be a little trickier than the breast, as there is a bone, but it’s not impossible and it’s quite easy to manoeuvre.
If you follow our step-by step guide, ‘everyone will get served a lot quicker with much less less, than if you were to do it at the table’. You’ll not only have plenty of beautifully sliced turkey, but the carcass which can be used for soup, and minimal mess. You’ll be able to get the most out of the turkey meat, and all your guests will be happy.