How to Carve a Turkey so Your Bird Isn't a Total Hack Job

Nov 1, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. ET
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Nothing ruins Thanksgiving dinner quicker than shredding a gorgeously cooked turkey to pieces. OK, we lied, maybe human blood drawn during said turkey shredding kills the joy of the holiday a little bit faster. But seriously, improperly carving a turkey and cutting yourself in the process are both totally common Thanksgiving Day scenarios. Don't let it happen to you.

The good news is you can avoid a bird and finger massacre with some simple tips. We recommend using a good, sharp carving knife and a boning knife rather than an electric knife. This will give you more control and protect the texture of your meat better. Set that bird on a cutting board with wells to capture the juices you release while cutting.

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Now... where do you get started? Here's your turkey carving plan.

how to carve a turkey
Image: Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

More: Alternative Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas — Because Not Everyone Loves Turkey

To separate a joint, first cut the skin around it, then grasp the pieces firmly, and pull until you hear the joint pop. Then, using a carving knife, cut through just the tendons connecting the joint. You don't need to cut through bone to remove the legs and wings from a turkey.

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Originally published November 2016. Updated November 2017.

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