How to Carve Chicken and Turkey



1. TO REMOVE LEG (thigh or second joint and drumstick). Hold the drumstick firmly with fingers, pulling gently away from turkey body. At the same time cut through skin between leg and body. Continue as follows:
2. PRESS LEG AWAY FROM BODY WITH FLAT SIDE OF KNIFE. Then cut through joint joining leg to backbone and skin on the back. If the "oyster", a choice oyster-shaped piece lying in the spoon-shaped section of the backbone was not removed with the thigh, remove it at this point. Hold leg on service plate with drumstick at a convenient angle to plate. Separate drumstick and thigh by cutting down through the joint to the plate.
3. SLICE DRUMSTICK MEAT. Hold drumstick upright at a convenient angle to plate and cut down, turning drumstick to get uniform slices. Chicken drumsticks and thighs are usually served without slicing.
4. SLICE THIGH MEAT. Hold thigh firmly on plate with a fork. Cut slices of meat parallel to the bone.
5. CUT INTO WHITE MEAT PARALLEL TO WING. Make a cut deep into the breast to the body frame parallel to and as close to the wing as possible.
6. SLICE WHITE MEAT. Beginning at front, starting halfway up the breast, cut thin slices of white meat down to the cut made parallel to the wing. The slices will fall away from the turkey as they are cut to this line. Continue carving until enough meat has been carved for first servings. Additional turkey may be carved as needed.

Remove individual servings of stuffing from an opening cut into side of the turkey where leg has been removed.


1. REMOVE THE WING TIP AND FIRST JOINT. Grasp the wing tip firmly with fingers, lift up, and sever between the first and second joint. Place the wing tip and first joint portion on the side of the platter. This part is not customarily served. Leave the second joint attached to the bird.
2. REMOVE THE DRUMSTICK. Grasp the end of the drumstick and lift it up and away from the body, disjointing it from the thigh or second joint of leg. The latter is left attached to the bird. Place the drumstick on the side platter for slicing the meat. Hold the drumstick upright at a convenient angle and cut down toward the plate, parallel with the bone, turning the drumstick to make uniform slices.

A variation (not illustrated) is: Grasp end of drumstick to steady the leg, then cut thin slices across the entire length of leg until the bone of drumstick and thigh and the joint connecting them are exposed. Disjoint drumstick as suggested and finish slicing remaining meat. Proceed with Step 3, "run the point, etc."
3. REMOVING THE THIGH BONE. Anchoring the fork where it is most convenient to steady the bird, cut slices of thigh meat parallel to the body until the bone is reached. Run the point of the knife around the thigh bone, lift up with the fork, and use fork or fingers to remove the bone. Then slice the remaining thigh meat.

The choice dark meat above the thigh in the spoon-shaped section of the backbone is called the "oyster". Use the point of the knife to lift it out.
4. SLICING WHITE MEAT. Begin at the front end of the turkey and slice until the wing socket is exposed. Remove the second joint of the wing. Continue slicing white meat until enough slices have been provided, or until the breastbone is reached.
5. REMOVING STUFFING FROM HOLE CUT INTO CAVITY UNDER THIGH. Slit the thin tissue in the thigh region with the tip of the knife and make an opening large enough for a serving spoon. The stuffing in the breast end may be served by laying the skin back onto the platter.

(Use this method also for carving Half and Quarter turkeys)

After the bird is done...

Allow the bird to stand in roasting pan 15 to 30 minutes so that juices may be absorbed.

Remove all trussing equipment, such as skewers and cord.

Place the bird on a warm large platter.

Use a simple garnish. Don't overdo it.

Carve at the table so everyone can enjoy the full glamor.

Carve with a very sharp, thin-bladed knife and a fork with a guard.

Carve enough meat at one time to serve all the guests.

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