Carving a Turkey

Choose your Turkey Carving Method

or How I Learned to Carve a Turkey on YouTube.

I have spent several Thanksgivings struggling with big birds, trying to teach myself everything I never wanted to know about carving a turkey.

Eventually, I resorted to the internet, reading articles from ButterBall® to Martha Stewart to POPSUGAR Food (I’m not kidding). This was but a meager beginning. I soon found the motherload for TCI (Turkey Carving instructions) on YouTube. Here I discovered a plethora of live action videos, purporting to make me into a Grand Master in the art of turkey carving in just 3 to 5 minutes.

Don’t worry, you won’t have to review this video plethora. I have done it for you. I’ve divided these videos into three TCI methodologies: elegant (Norman Rockwell style), clever, and simple.

The Norman Rockwell carving style takes place in the dining room by showing off your skills in front of your guests by slicing the breast meat while it is still on the bird. It’s pretty…very pretty. Then the master retires to the kitchen to finish the ugly work with no witnesses.

The clever methods involve the tricks and speed-carving methods of professional chefs using ninja knives. They take apart turkeys in a flash, using knife skills that could easily cost me a limb. I’ll pass on the clever.

And, the simple method is for the really smart 1% (I don’t qualify), who have thoroughly researched the matter and found out that even Julia Child gave up on carving turkeys. In 1989 she proposed that the best way to cook a turkey was to separate the bird pieces in advance. Hence her recipe for a deconstructed turkey. No carving required. Of course, to many of us that kind of defeats the purpose of having a turkey in the house.

At the end of the day, I became a follower of Alton Brown’s Turkey carving method. It’s a bit clever and about as simple as could be without deconstructing in advance, but maybe not elegant. I’ll stick with it until I find a better system. I’m especially indebted to Mr. Brown for his technique of removing the thigh bone and carving the thigh.

Here’s a link to Food Network’s Alton Brown Turkey Carving Video 3:28.

My final bit of advice is that whatever method you choose, have a sharp carving knife for the slicing, and a sharp boning knife for that tricky thigh bone. ENJOY!

P.S. This blog is a follow-up to my earlier posting this month on turkey cooking tips:



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