First rule of carving a turkey is to have a sharp carving knife which is going to be critical in achieving great results. My grandfather taught me how to do this the right way and Elizabeth Karmel liked the technique so much, she published it in Taming The Flame, which was her first and most comprehensive cook book. Here is a quick run through of a way to do it that is easier and smarter than the traditional method and it keeps the turkey slice, smaller and juicy.
- First remove the thighs, legs and wings from the turkey by pulling away from the bird and then cutting them from the body.
- Remove all of the meat from the thighs, and pile it on the platter as dark meat, you can do the same with the legs, but I usually put this on the tray.
- Then, at the top of the breast, slice down along the rib cage and remove both of the breasts in two large pieces. (Trim off all the excess white meat you may have missed)
- Lay the breast down flat on the cutting board length wise and slice across the breast for “crescent shaped chunks” and make them as thin or as thick as you wish.
After slicing the breast, I use the knife as a spatula and life the entire sliced breast onto the platter and assemble it with the dark meat and drumsticks for a beautiful presentation. People can then take as many slices as they want and keeping the breast sliced but assembled keeps the slices moist throughout the serving. Jeffrey Elliot in his book The Complete Book of Knife Skills: The Essential Guide to Use Techniques and Care, did great Step by Step Photo Guide of this process which was featured in the Huffington Post if you need a visual.