The Turkey Whisperer

Our Test Kitchen's 6 Tips for Easier Turkey Carving

And we'll show you!

November  6, 2017

Our Test Kitchen saves the day again. We partnered with Work Sharp Culinary, purveyor of at-home knife sharpeners, to share—and show you!—how to tackle carving, and smarter.

There are three ways to not fear the big bird come the big day: Sharpen that knife. Make it easier on yourself (and the turkey) by using a different roasting technique. Brush up on your carving. The first is simple enough, but if you need a primer on the second two, you've arrive squarely at the right place. Our Test Kitchen recently gave us the low down for better luck when cooking and carving a turkey for a crowd, and well, we wanted to share them with you.

See our tips in action in the video below, and screen shot the list below for when the time comes. Then, you'll be ready.

If you just want the tips, right this way:

  • Before engaging in a tussle with your bird, make sure your knife is sharp. Like, seriously sharp. This will minimize accidents and make your slicing more accurate.

  • Spatch-cock your turkey before it goes in the oven instead roasting it whole. This will ensure even cooking and easier handling!

  • After slicing off one thigh/leg from the finished bird, flip it over to find the joint of your next cut.

  • When you're handling the breast, hold it down for a cleaner cut. Keep those fingertips protected, though. (Sometimes I curl them slightly for extra insurance.)

  • After making that cut, help the breast meat off with your other hand. This way, you can continue to use your knife to continue separating the meat from the bone as you go.

  • Then, flip the whole around for extra leverage on the other side of the breast, and repeat!

And don't forget to do this all out of sight of your guests. No need for them to know how the magic happens, right?

If there isn't an adage about keeping your knives sharp and how it relates to life, there should be. We partnered with Work Sharp Culinary to show you how to carve a bird like a pro—and why sharp knives are key to the prep. Head here to see Work Sharp's knife sharpeners.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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I love oysters and unfussy sandwiches.


Meat C. November 17, 2017
Hide how you do it? Your ego trip to think you have to be better then others sucks the same as reading your instructions.
Ian S. November 7, 2017
Best way is as Jamie Oliver's 2nd way, see his video. Take off whole breast and cut across the breast to ensure everyone gets evenly cooked meat from nearest the backbone and skin
AntoniaJames November 6, 2017
Also, remove the wishbone before you put the bird in the oven. Makes a world of difference in carving. ;o)