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How to carve a turkey

(Boston Globe) City Landing chef Bill Brodsky demonstrates how to properly carve a turkey for Thanksgiving.
(Boston Globe) City Landing chef Bill Brodsky demonstrates how to properly carve a turkey for Thanksgiving.

1. Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes to allow juices to evenly redistribute themselves, creating moist, tender meat.

2. Start with the leg. Cut along the natural seam between the thigh and breast to expose the flesh underneath. Work the knife straight down, holding your hand at the knuckle end of the drumstick and gently pulling the leg away from the body as you work. You’ll eventually reach the ball joint. Put your knife down, then hold the breast firmly with one hand and with the other holding the drumstick, pull it away from the body, rotating your wrist. The joint should pop. Cut through the joint and the body to sever the thigh and drumstick in one piece. Move this to the pot (you’ll carve it once the whole turkey is broken down). Repeat with the remaining thigh and drumstick.


3. Now to the breasts: Holding the outer edge of a breast with your free hand, take your knife and slice parallel to the breastbone from top to bottom. Stay close to the bone, running the blade further and further down toward the cutting board. When you reach the bottom, the entire breast should come off. If not, make one final long cut to remove it. Repeat with the other breast.

4. To remove the wings, cut along the natural seam, then pull the whole wing away from the carcass to expose the joint. Rotate the wing to pop the joint, then cut through it with your knife. The wings can be served as is. Transfer to the pot.

5. With your hands, pull off any meat remaining on the carcass and transfer to the platter. Set the carcass aside for soup.

6. Remove the towel and wipe the cutting board clean. When you arrange meat on the platter, put the dark meat on one side, the white meat on the other.


7. Remove the thigh-drumsticks from the pot and transfer to the board. Separate the thigh from the drumsticks by rotating the drumstick like you’re trying to disjoint it again. There is a natural seam about ½-inch from the widest part of the drumstick, almost directly in the middle between the drumstick and thigh. Cut through this to separate the two. You may need to move the knife ¼-inch in one direction or the other to find the right spot.

8. Slice the thigh meat on both sides of the bone, then cut underneath both ends of the bone to remove it. Cut the thigh meat in half and transfer to the platter. Legs can be served whole, or, for more manageable pieces, sliced along the bone.

9. For the breasts, slice crosswise against the grain into ¼-inch pieces. Transfer to the platter; add the wings.

10. Use the juices in the pot for the gravy. Matt Barber. Adapted from Bill Brodsky