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Any Way You Slice It: Here’s How to Carve the Bird

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CarvingTurkeyBy Cecil Flentge

So, you have decided to cook a turkey.  It doesn’t matter if this is the  “coming of age”  step where you show your friends you can do things like big kids.  It doesn’t matter if it is just the bait to get your scattered relatives to gather once a year.  You have made the decision, so now it’s time to plan the meal.

There are many ephemeral articles that will give you ideas for decoration, invitation, or theme.  There are many recipes listed to stir your imagination.  But here I am just offering tips you can use to slice your Thanksgiving turkey.

1. Let the big bird rest!  This gives it a chance to let the juices inside settle so they stay in the bird (making it moist) and not pouring out all over the counter.

2. While it is resting, move it into a shallow baking pan.  You know, it has a lip but isn’t more than 1 inch deep.  Then, when you slice, any juices that do drip can be poured over the breast slices or added to the huge cauldron of gravy!

3. Pick up your toaster and cut the turkey.   No!  You wouldn’t use a toaster to cut a turkey.  So don’t use a big chef’s knife; use a thin-long-sharp carving knife!  Yeah, that knife you never use because you can’t chop with it and it is way too long for paring an apple.  Now is the time!  When the blade is sharp and only about an inch wide, you get less “drag” as you slice.  Now is the time to get your knives sharpened before Thanksgiving.

4.  Grasp the end of the drumstick and slice the skin that attaches it to the main body.   Then you can lean the leg and thigh away from the breast.  This will show you where the thigh joins the turkey.  Cut through the joint and remove the hindquarter from the bird. Repeat on the other side of the bird.  Separate the thigh and drumstick at the joint.

5. Then cut along the bones and slide the meat off the leg and thigh, then slice.

6.  Insert a fork in the wing to steady the turkey.  If the wing is too loose, just cut it off at the joint.  Make a long horizontal cut above wing joint through to the body frame.

7. Measure in 1/2 inch and slice down the breast.  Slice straight down with an even stroke. When knife reaches the cut above the wing joint, the slice should fall free on its own.  Continue to slice breast meat easily by starting the cut at a higher point each time.

8. Relax.  If all goes well, great!  If it doesn’t, you have something to talk about!

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