Thanksgiving's here, and you've followed all your family's traditional recipes, or maybe just looked up how to cook a turkey online. In any case, you've just pulled the bird out of the oven, it's sitting imposingly on your dining room table: Now what? If you've never carved a turkey before, approaching it from the first time can be a harrowing maze of sinewy, bony roadblocks. Here's our step-by-step advice for getting the most meat out of your bird:
- Set the bird down breast-side up and remove the legs. Use the carving knife to slice the skin between the legs and the body, then pull the legs out and away from the body until you hear a pop. This is good; it means you've disconnected the ball joint that connects the leg bones to the rest of the skeleton. Now the legs are ready to eat; put them aside.
- Next, split the legs into drumsticks and thighs by feeling for the joint in the middle of the leg with your fingers, then driving the carving knife straight through the joint. If you feel any resistance, it means you're slicing at the wrong location.
- Third, pull the wings away from the body and remove them as well by cutting through the joint.
- Once all that's left is the body, make a thin cut directly down the middle of the breast bone, then cut along the rib cage until the breast meat separates from the bone. You may have to pull on it a bit to extract it.
- Cut everything into serving-size slices unless your guests want to eat the wings or drumsticks whole.