1. Remove the turkey from the roasting rack and place it breast-side up on a cutting board. Using your hands, tear the leg and thigh portions as far away from the body as possible. The joint between the thigh and body of the turkey should be visible on both sides. Bend the thigh bone back with your hand so the joint pops and the thigh and leg portion come off. If they do not come off by pulling, slice through the joint to remove. Repeat with the other side. 01:11
2. To remove the wing portions, pull each away from the body using your hands. Make a cut where the drummette meets the joint. The wings should separate easily. A knife may not be needed. Set the wings aside. 03:02
3. To remove the breast meat, first use your fingers to determine where the breastbone is. It should be in the middle. Take your knife and cut down along one side of the breastbone, following the contours of the breast until you reach the bottom of the bird. Remove the breast meat in one piece, taking care to leave as much of the skin attached and intact as possible. Repeat with the other side. 03:46
4. Set aside the remaining turkey cavity and use it for making a soup or stock. Place any stray turkey pieces from carving onto the serving plate. 06:20
5. To prepare the turkey for serving, slice each breast widthwise into 1/2-inch slices. For the dark meat, manually break apart the thigh from the drumstick and cut through the joint connecting the two. Arrange the meat on a platter. For a quick re-crisping, place the carved turkey in a 500-degree oven for 5 minutes; just make sure the platter or tray is oven safe. 06:36
What You'll Need
- Whole cooked turkey
- Cutting board
- Chef's knife
- Serving platter
Chef Brandon recommends to use the most comfortable knife, not necessarily the biggest or sharpest knife. Cooked turkey meat is tender and should cut easily.
Making soup or stock is a great way to use every part of the turkey. To do so, place the turkey cavity in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add a pound of quartered yellow onions, a half pound of carrots cut into large pieces, a half pound of celery stalks cut into large pieces, a few cloves of garlic, a small bunch of parsley, and a teaspoon of black peppercorns to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the temperature to a simmer and cook for approximately two hours. Periodically skim and discard the fat and scum that rise to the top. For a rustic soup, season as desired and serve, or strain the contents for a stock.
These steps can also be used to carve whole chickens, cornish hens, and other types of poultry.