It’s turkey time! The bird is out of the oven and it’s time to carve turkey! Rather than trying to cut all the meat directly from the carcass at the table, consider creating an attractive platter behind the scenes this year.

The turkey is fully roasted when my thermometer reads 165F (74C) at the thickest part of the bird. If you stuff your turkey in the traditional way, filling the cavity with your favorite holiday stuffing recipe, then the temperature should be taken there. I’ve stuffed my Thanksgiving turkey between the skin and breast meat, so I’ll take the finished temperature at the thickest part, between thigh and breast.

After letting the turkey rest for 30 minutes to allow heat and juices to redistribute, I’ll have a specific procedure that I always use to carve turkey.

The object is to disassemble the turkey more like a surgeon than a bear. Strategic cuts without hacking will yield a more attractive platter, so my first cut with a slicing knife is to remove the turkey leg. Cutting between leg and thigh, I’m first looking to separate the ball and socket joint of the leg without having to cut through bone.

Then, the thigh and wing can be removed in the same way. If you’re unsure exactly where to place your knife, it’s best to pause and examine how the joint moves. Place the thumb of your non-knife hand directly above where you believe the thigh or wing joint to be. Move the wing or thigh back and forth until your thumb detects the exact spot of the joint. Then, cut through the softer cartilage.

My favorite way to carve turkey is to remove the breast in one piece rather than cutting slices from the carcass. This is accomplished by finding the middle breast bone and cutting downward, just to the side of it, following the rib cage in a rounded fashion. Then, a horizontal cut just above where the thigh was will remove the entire turkey breast.

If you’ve stuffed your turkey under the skin as I have, then a simple bias cut across the breast will present an attractive slice of turkey, stuffing, and crispy skin in one. The turkey breast can then be further sliced and make the centerpiece of our platter.

Of all my cooking turkey tips, using correct knife skills along with some patience and thought is the best way to carve turkey, and identifying the exact places to cut and disassemble the bird will make the most attractive platter.

Author's Bio: 

Chef Todd Mohr is a classically trained chef, entrepreneur, cooking educator and founder of WebCookingClasses. You CAN learn to cook without written recipes by taking his FREE cooking class that will change the way you think about cooking forever!