How to Carve a Turkey

Many otherwise confident cooks lose their nerve when serving a turkey at the table, uncertain how to carve their beautiful bird into serving pieces. However, mastering this skill is easy if you follow these easy steps. Just make sure that you have let the bird rest for 20 to 30 minutes after you remove it from the oven, and arm yourself with a sharp knife and large two-pronged fork to steady the bird. A knife with a flexible yet sturdy blade is best for following the turkey's contours.

Remove the legs

Place the turkey breast side up on a carving board with the legs facing you. Using a carving knife, cut through the skin between the breast and thigh. Locate the thigh joint and cut through it to remove the drumstick.

Remove the breasts

Leave the thighs and wings on the bird to stabilize it. Just above the thigh and wing, carve a deep horizontal cut through the breast to the bone to create a base cut. Next cut down along the breastbone to meet the horizontal cut so you can remove the breast half in one piece. Repeat on the other side to remove the second breast half.

Slice the breast into medallions

Place one of breast halves flat on a cutting surface and slice it crosswise to cut into medallions. Repeat with second half.

Remove the thighs and wings

Pry each thigh from the joint; then, use the knife to remove the thigh. Locate the joint between each wing and the breastbone and cut through the joints to remove the wings.

Transfer the meat to a platter

Arrange the turkey on a platter or a clean carving board, placing the dark meat on one side and the sliced white breast meat on the other. Garnish with sprigs of fresh herbs, food-safe leaves or fresh fruit if desired.