Carving a turkey

No matter how you cook a turkey, in the end you will carve it up.

How to cook a turkey : and all the other trimmings
from the editors of Fine Cooking magazine.
Newtown, CT : Taunton Press, c2007.
Designed as a holiday survival guide for a wide range of home cooks, this book contains 100 recipes for everything from appetizers to desserts--including an entire chapter on pies--plus information on everything to do with turkeys, stuffing, and gravy.
The turkey : an American story
Andrew F. Smith.
Chicago, IL : University of Illinois Press, c2006.
"Food historian Andrew F. Smith presents the turkey in ten courses, beginning with the bird itself (actually, several species of it) in the wild. The Turkey subsequently includes discussions of practically every aspect of the icon, including its arrival in early America, how it came to be called "turkey," its domestication and mating habits, the expansion of the bird's territory into Europe, conditions in modern turkey processing plants, and the surprising boom-or-bust cycles in turkey husbandry. The bird's ascension to holiday mainstay - and the techniques of stuffing - are also discussed." "As one of the easiest foods to cook, the turkey's culinary possibilities have been widely explored if little noted. The second half of this book is a collection of more than a hundred historical and modern turkey recipes from across America and Europe."--BOOK JACKET.
The ultimate turkey fryer cookbook : recipes for everything to cook in your fryer
Reece Williams.
Des Moines, Iowa : Meredith, 2003.
Reece Williams shares his finest down-home recipes for preparing the most succulent meats, poultry, seafood and side dishesall using a turkey fryer. Delicious recipes that offer consumers a variety of options for using the hottest new outdoor appliance. An index and where to buy products list efficiently directs cooks to recipes and resources. Important safety information helps consumers use turkey fryers with confidence.
Chicken : a cook's collection of 500 fabulous chicken, turkey and game dishes
edited by Valerie Ferguson.
New York, NY : Lorenz Books, 2000.
Inspiration for using this versatile ingredient in sensational soups, appetizers, salads, snacks and main courses, for all seasons and every kind of occasion.
Wild about turkey : tantalizing tastes of turkey and all the trimmings, with recipes for Thanksgiving... and beyond
National Wild Turkey Federation ; [recipe editor, Ed Bamberger].
Memphis, TN : Wimmer Co., c1996.
Delightful stories and quotes from notable turkey hunting enthusiasts begin each chapter of this volume produced in conjunction with the National Wildlife Federation. It contains favorite recipes of NWTF members and their supporters.
The great turkey cookbook : 385 turkey recipes for every day and holidays
by Virginia and Robert Hoffman.
Freedom, CA : Crossing Press, c1995.
Includes index.

To get the best results while carving your turkey, allow it to rest for about twenty minutes after you remove it from the heat source. The moisture will re-absorbed and your meat will be tender and juicy. Always remember to slice with the knife away from you.

Carving a turkey starts with removing the drumstick and thigh.

  • Press the leg away from the body.  Often the joint connecting the leg to the hip will snap free. 
  • Then cut the dark meat completely from the body by following the body contour.
  • Place the drumstick and thigh on a cutting surface and cut through the connecting joint. 
  • Both pieces may be individually sliced. 
    • Tilt the drumstick to a convenient angle, then slice towards the table.
    • Slice the thigh meat by holding firmly on cutting surface. Make sure to cut even slices parallel to the bone.

Knife skills

Keep your knives sharp

Never grab for a falling knife

Use the right knife for the job

Cut away from your body

More tips

Next, is the breast.

  • In preparing for easy slicing, place knife parallel and as close to wing as possible. 
  • Make a deep cut into breast, cutting right to bone. This is your base cut. 
  • All breast slices will stop at this horizontal cut.
  • After making the breast base cut, carve downward, ending at base cut. 
    • Start each new slice slightly higher up on breast. 
    • Keep slices thin and even.

To ensure handling of cooked turkey is safe, you have about 2 hours after you remove it from the oven to serve it and then refrigerate or freeze the leftovers.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff