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Carving the Thanksgiving Turkey

Published by Rodolfo Arhart

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This one is for the guys, since the men of house usually hold the honors of carving our family Thanksgiving turkey. It’s a ritual that has been passed from father to son for years.

First things first, remove the turkey from the oven, grill or smoker and allow it to rest covered for about 30 minutes so that the juices can be absorbed back into the turkey meat. If you have stuffed your turkey, you need to remove the stuffing from the turkey and set it aside.

Try not to cut any of the strings or remove the skewers until after the turkey has rested. The reason for this is that you may break the turkey skin and cause the turkey juices to exit instead of being reabsorbed back into the turkey meat.

Rule of thumb – have a sharp knife and proper sized carving fork, so that this task become almost effortless. You need a carving fork to help hold the turkey in place while you slice the meat from the turkey. Now that your Thanksgiving turkey has rested and the stuffing has been removed, it’s time to start carving.

Dark Meat

  • The turkey legs are the first parts to be cut. Here’s how you do it, hold on to the end of the drumstick and gently pull the leg away from the body of the turkey. Use the tip of your knife to find the joint between the thigh and the turkey body.
  • Next, holding the turkey in place with your carving fork cut the joint between the turkey thigh and the turkey’s body, separating the whole leg from the turkey. Now cut the joint between the drumstick and the thigh. Repeat the process for the other turkey leg.

White Meat

  • The turkey breast is next. You need to make a horizontal cut into the turkey, just above the turkey wing. Use your carving fork to hold the turkey in place by placing it into the top of the turkey’s breast area.
  • Begin your vertical slicing of the breast meat; working from the outside of the turkey, moving inward towards the breast bone.

Now that the breast meat is cut, you can remove the wings. Again, use your knife to find the wing joint and remove the wing from the turkey. Last but not least, don’t forget the wishbone.


Every family has their own tradition on how they serve their Thanksgiving turkey. Some will carve this holiday bird right at the table. Others carve their turkey in the kitchen and plate the sliced turkey meat, drumsticks and wings before bringing it to the table.

No matter how you choose to serve your Thanksgiving turkey, your carving will be done flawlessly.

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