Turkey Carving 101 in 7 Simple Steps

September 30, 2016

So, you’ve ordered your Mary’s Free-Range Turkey for the big day. You’ve picked it up from your Natural Grocers location, prepared it just the way you like it (and made a delicious stock while you’re at it) — and now it’s ready to serve!

But where do you start?

What knife should you use?

What do they mean when they say, “carve the turkey”?

We’re glad you asked!


Here’s everything you need to know about carving your Thanksgiving Day turkey:

1. Let it cool.

Make sure the turkey isn’t too hot before starting. Letting it sit for about 20 minutes is usually enough time to cool, without getting too cold.

2. Make the first cut.

You’ll want to use a towel or a carving fork to hold the turkey steady. Then, take a chef’s knife (or the longest, sharpest knife you have) and cut along one of the legs, as close to the leg as possible.

3. Remove the legs.

Pull the leg away from the cut, exposing the ball joint underneath. You can simply pop the joint apart or, if your knife is sharp enough, cut through the bone and the skin on the other side, completely separating the leg. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for the other leg.

4. Separate the thighs and drumsticks.

Now that the legs are separated, feel for the joint that connects the drumstick to the thigh. Your knife should cut right through the skin, meat and joint. Make sure to avoid hitting the bone. NOTE: Bone-in thighs and drumsticks are sometimes preferred, but if you’d rather not have the bone-in option, simply cut out the bones and slice the meat to a desired size.

5. Remove the wings.

Pull the wing away from the turkey; locate the joint and cut straight through skin, meat and joint. The wing should separate easily. Repeat for the other wing.

6. Carve the breast meat.

Find the breastbone and start cutting just to one side of it, avoiding slicing into the bone itself. Using a boning knife for this part is recommended, if you have one. Make as deep a cut as you can, starting from the top of the turkey and working your way to the bottom. Pull the meat away from the bone, using the tip of your knife to remove completely from the carcass. Repeat this on the other side.

7. Enjoy!

By now, all the meat should be removed and ready to enjoy! Keeping the remaining bones and carcass is always an option, as many broth, soup and gravy recipes can use these leftover pieces. In fact, we have a delicious Turkey Bone Wellness Broth recipe that’s perfect for a leftover turkey bone carcass.

We hope you enjoy your Mary’s Free-Range Turkey this holiday season. And we hope you’ll consider Natural Grocers for all your good4u grocery needs in the future!

Written by: Dustin Diehl

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