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Voraciously

How to carve a turkey

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You carve a turkey the same way you carve a chicken or other poultry. It might be intimidating since it’s the largest bird of the bunch, but with a little know-how, you’ll handle it like a pro. Before you cut a thing, let your turkey rest — at least 30 minutes — so its juices don’t end up on the cutting board. Use a board large enough to fit the entire bird and preferably with grooves around the edges to catch stray liquid. When it comes to knife selection, a thin blade helps with dexterity, but the most important thing is that it’s sharp. The only other thing you need is your clean hands (though you can use gloves if you prefer).

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Remove the leg quarters from the turkey by slicing where each one naturally separates. Cut along the carcass to remove as much meat as you can. Eventually you’ll reach the point where the thigh is attached to the body. By pulling more, you’ll see the joint; cut through it.

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Repeat on the other side.

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Next, you need easy access to the breast meat. To get there, cut off the wing tips and flats through the joints where they connect to the drumettes.

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If the wishbone was not removed before roasting, do so now to make removing the breasts easier. To remove a breast, cut along one side of the keel bone, using your fingers to help separate the meat from the carcass and following the rib with your knife. (This is where a thinner knife helps.)

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Repeat on the other side.

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Remove the wing drumettes at their joints. You should be left with a relatively clean turkey carcass that you can use for stock or soup.

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Now portion the parts. For each hind quarter, find the joint where the drumstick meets the thigh and separate the two with your knife. (It is often easier to find skin-side down.) Set the drumstick aside and move on to the thigh.

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Remove the thigh bone by carefully slicing along its edges until you can pull it out. Then flip the meat skin-side up and slice it into strips.

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Lastly, slice each breast against the grain (crosswise) into whatever thickness you prefer. Time to serve! (Just don’t forget to steal a crispy piece of skin for yourself first — you’ve earned it.)

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Aaron Hutcherson

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Credits

Video by Aaron Hutcherson, design and animation by Chloe Meister