How To Cook and Carve a Thanksgiving Turkey Like a Man

by Brett & Kate McKay on November 20, 2008 · 52 comments

in Cooking, Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure

Image from Vermont Ferrett

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and that means one thing- turkey. Preparing and carving a turkey for loved ones at Thanksgiving is definitely a manly task (cooking in general is a manly task). It involves roasted flesh, sharp knives, and popping joints. So impress your friends and family this year by cooking up a juicy and delicious bird. After you’ve cooked it, earn extra man points by masterfully carving it with a sharp knife. Carving a turkey is a rite of passage every man must go through. But if you don’t do it right, you’ll just be left with a mangled mess of meat.

To help guide us through cooking and carving our Thanksgiving turkey, we brought in our friend Karl Engel. Karl is the head chef of the award winning BBQ and grilling team Pigcasso. Follow Karl’s instructions, and you’ll soon be cooking and carving a Thanksgiving turkey like a real man.

How to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey

Pick the right turkey. The first step in cooking a turkey is picking the right turkey for the job. With turkeys, bigger is not better. The best size turkey is between 12 and 16 pounds. Anything larger than 16 pounds and you’ll get tough and chewy meat. So stay away from the big 22 pound Tom turkeys. If you’re serving lots of people, get more than one medium size turkey.

Thaw it. Before you throw your turkey in the oven, it needs to be completely thawed. The best way is to let it thaw slowly in your refrigerator. Thawing your turkey in the fridge isn’t a one day affair. Depending on how large your turkey is, it could take days before it is completely thawed, so plan ahead. Below I’ve included a chart with the typical time required to thaw a turkey based on how much it weighs.

Time Required to Thaw a Turkey
8 to 12 lbs.
2 to 3 Days
13 to 16 lbs.
3 to 4 Days
17 to 20 lbs.
4 to 5 Days
21 to 24 lbs.
5 to 6 Days

What if you don’t have a week to thaw the bird? A little hack from your grandma’s kitchen will get that turkey thawed in no time. Get a large tub of COLD water. Make sure the turkey is wrapped up in a leak proof package. Place the turkey in the tub. 30 minutes per pound of turkey is required to thaw your turkey using this method, so if you have a 15 pound turkey, it will take approximately 7 and 1/2 hours. Make sure to change the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold.

Clean it. Next you’ll need to clean out the giblets and neck. Most frozen turkeys have the giblets and neck in a nice little package stuffed inside the turkey in the back cavity. Just stick your hand in there and pull them out. You can save the giblets for gravy or you can toss them. Rinse out the bird under cold running water.

Brine it. Turkey by nature is a dry meat. Cooking only makes it drier. In order to keep the juices in the bird where they belong, you’ll need to brine this bad boy. You have two options for the brine: a wet or dry brine. You can find a good recipe for a wet brine at Alton Brown’s website.

Our friend Karl likes to do a dry brine. It gets the job done just as well as a wet brine and isn’t as messy. Here’s what Karl uses for his dry brine mixture.

  • 2 cups of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup of ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of dry herb mix.
Mix this all together and pack the turkey inside and out with the brine mix. Place the turkey in a pan, and let it sit in the fridge for at least one day while packed in the brine mix.
After a day, take the turkey out of the fridge and rinse out all the brine.
Butter it. Get some melted butter and wipe the outside of the turkey with it.
Throw it in the oven. Place the turkey in a wide, low roasting pan. Set the oven for 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook it about 15-20 minutes per pound. So a 12-14 pound turkey will take between 3 hours and 3 hours and 45 minutes. However, you should always use a meat thermometer to check when your turkey is done. Place the probe between the leg and thigh. The thermometer should read 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Baste it. During the first hour of cooking, don’t do anything with the turkey. After the first hour, baste it every 30 minutes with some melted butter mixed with chopped up sage and rosemary. When the bird is done,  it will have a nice mahogany colored skin. Again, check the thermometer to see if the inside of the bird is at least 165 degrees.

How to Carve a Turkey

Our friend Karl Engel was kind enough to star in a short instructional video on how to carve the turkey. Watch it, follow his instructions, and you’ll have the best looking turkey platter in the neighborhood. I’ve also included the instructions in text format if videos aren’t your thing or if you need to check back later about specifics.

Let the bird rest. After you take the turkey out of the oven, you want to let it rest for about 20 to 30 minutes before you start carving. If you start carving too early, the juices from the bird will run all over the place and your turkey will dry out. Also, letting the turkey rest and cool will reduce the chances you’ll scald yourself with delicious but molten hot turkey juice.

Separate the leg and the thigh from the body. Take a sharp knife and cut the piece of skin in between the body and the leg. Once you have some separation, grab the body of the bird in one hand and the leg and thigh of the turkey in the other, and start pulling them apart to expose the joint that holds the leg to the turkey. You know you’ve reached it when you hear a pop. Carve around the joint until you don’t get any resistance. Pull the leg and the thigh away from the body of the turkey all in one piece. Repeat on the other side.


Separate the leg from the thigh. Holding the drumstick, stand the thigh and leg piece up on its end. Take your knife and cut between the drumstick and the thigh bone. When you meet some resistance with the thigh bone, move you knife around it a bit until you don’t get any resistance. Make the final cut and separate the drumstick from the thigh. Place the drumstick on the platter so the kids can start fighting over who has dibs on it at dinner time.

 

Cut the thigh meat. You’ve got some great meat on the thigh bone. Don’t let it go to waste by just hacking away at it. There’s one bone in the thigh meat and your goal is to separate the meat from the bone. Grab the end of the thigh bone, and take your knife and carefully start scraping the meat away from the bone. If you’re really careful you can take the thigh meat off in one piece. But if you need to separate it in two pieces when cutting it away from the bone, it’s no big deal. Once you get the meat separated from the thigh bone, you can carve it up for your platter.

Separate the wing from the body. Our next step is to separate the wing from the body. The wing is attached to the turkey by a ball joint. Cut the the area between the wing and body until you get to the joint. Once you get there, grab the wing and pull it away from the turkey until you hear a pop. Once you hear that pop, take your knife and start cutting through the tendons and ligaments surrounding the joint until you separate the wing from the body. You can serve the wing whole on your platter. Repeat on the other side.

Carve the turkey breast. You have some options on how you carve the turkey breast. The traditional way is to carve small slices off the side of the breast. There’s nothing wrong with this way, but it does tend to dry the meat out. Also, if you get the wrong kind of knife, you can tear the meat and it won’t look as good when you serve it.

Another way you can carve the breast meat so that you maintain juiciness is to cut the entire breast off the turkey and then carve it up into smaller slices. Here’s how you do it. Find the breastbone in the middle of the turkey. Pick which breast you’re going to carve first, and make a cut right next to the breastbone on that side.

Continue carving down the side of the breastbone. It helps to use your hands to peel the breast away from the bone as you’re cutting. Keep making small slices with your knife until you can separate the entire breast from the turkey.

Once it’s off, grab your large carving knife and slice the meat against the grain starting at the small point of the breast. You can make the slices as thin or as thick as you want. If you don’t think you’ll eat the entire breast, just cut what you’ll use, and wrap the rest of the breast in plastic wrap. It will stay nice and juicy for later.

Your Final Product

Happy Thanksgiving. It’s time to feast. I’ve got dibs on the drumstick.

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shakeel November 20, 2008 at 10:12 pm

Uhhh….wheres the “stuff the turkey with stuffing” step?

2 Brett November 20, 2008 at 10:16 pm

@Shakeel-

I personally like my “stuffing” made outside the bird. But I know some people argue having it stuffed inside is the only way to go. It’s a divisive issue. My parents always make stuffing outside the bird, my in-laws always make it inside the bird. They haven’t come to blows yet on the issue thankfully.

3 Brady November 21, 2008 at 4:24 am

Thanks for the tips. I’m buying a fresh turkey from a local farmer. It’ll be my first attempt. I’m excited. I do have one question about the brining process: Your directions say to dry brine for at least one day. Does it hurt to go multiple days with the dry brine? Say if I pick up my turkey Saturday or early in the week, do I brine it immediately, or do I wait until Wednesday to brine it?

4 Wayne November 21, 2008 at 5:06 am

@Shakeel

Stuffing inside the bird makes it cook unevenly. The outside will reach temperature long before the inside will because of the added material. If the inside doesnt cook correctly it can carry salmonella and you dont want everyone throwing up on thanksgiving.

5 Will November 21, 2008 at 7:18 am

If you love dressing as much as I do, there’s just not enough room inside the bird for it!

I haven’t personally verified this recipe, but it sounds like what I did the one year I made Thanksgiving: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Turkey-with-Corn-Bread-Dressing/Detail.aspx

I will add: the corn bread needs to be stale. So you should cut it open and either leave it out overnight, or put it in a 200 or 250 oven to dry out.

6 Harland November 21, 2008 at 7:42 am

I agree – do NOT stuff your turkey – unless you want dry, soggy meat. You can always add some drippings to your stuffing afterwards to get a bit of that roasted taste. I cut up some carrots, celery, onions and maybe some simple herbs (thyme, sage) and throw it into the turkey. Not much, just enough to add some flavor without slowing cooking down. (not stuffed!) Then put some more of the veggies in the pan to roast – helps make the perfect gravy.

7 Jake November 21, 2008 at 7:43 am

Never underestimate the power of a SHARP knife. Especially important when you’re carving a turkey, an animal which, when cooked, is prone to falling apart.

There are three knives every man needs. No more. (OK, more if you’re obsessed like I am).
10 inch chef’s knife (bigger here is generally better)
10 – 12 inch serrated bread knife
3 – 4 inch paring knife

If you keep them super-sharp, you’ll never really need anything else. Use the chef’s knife for carving – you don’t need a fancy carving set.

It would be great to see a post on how to hone, sharpen and maintain your fine cutlery. There are lots of options (ceramic water sharpener, crock sticks, whetstone) beyond the traditional honing steel.

8 Harland November 21, 2008 at 7:44 am

Originally Posted By BradyThanks for the tips. I’m buying a fresh turkey from a local farmer. It’ll be my first attempt. I’m excited. I do have one question about the brining process: Your directions say to dry brine for at least one day. Does it hurt to go multiple days with the dry brine? Say if I pick up my turkey Saturday or early in the week, do I brine it immediately, or do I wait until Wednesday to brine it?

Brady – In my opinion you shouldn’t brine too long. I usually wet salt brine for 4-6 hours. Too long and the meat gets mushy and too salty. I find 4-6 hrs is perfect balance of juicy and salty. But others may have different ideas. I definitely would not go more than a day

9 Shakeel November 21, 2008 at 8:34 am

No stuffing inside the turkey? You guys havn’t lived! Its a pretty trivial process. Drop the oven temperature by 25 degrees and add a half hour to an hour (depending on how effecient your oven is about cycling convection curents) to an 8-14 pound bird. My family is big enough that we usually wind up making extra stuffing on the side, but you can always tell the difference.

Regarding salmonella: Dropping the oven temp by 25 degrees F isn’t enough to significantly alter the cooking properties of the bird but will still kill the bacteria. It also helps keep the bird moist.

10 Lance November 21, 2008 at 8:47 am

I have been carving turkey for over 20 years and cooked a few as well and the carving instructions are right on. I have seen and made most mistakes in carving and making turkeys. This year we are doing the turkey on a stand-up chicken roasting stand, a small bird for just three of us. I think we will try dry-brining it this time. Stuffing outside the turkey. The only change I will make to carving is the breast part. I like that idea a lot.

Carving turkey is definitely manly and gives one the opportunity to “taste-test” the bird!!

One year my mother-in-law started a fire in the oven with turkey grease… so be careful of them… mother-in-laws I mean!

11 alfred November 21, 2008 at 8:47 am

this post make me hungry

12 bfwebster November 21, 2008 at 10:30 am

As for carving the turkey, I have just two words: electric knife. Makes all the difference in the world. ..bruce..

13 scardeal November 21, 2008 at 10:35 am

I’m a big fan of deep frying the whole thing. Just thaw it, or it’ll esplode!

14 Shannon November 21, 2008 at 11:12 am

Great post! And remember guys, sharpen your knives before you start carving. Makes a world of difference.

15 jcard21 November 21, 2008 at 12:07 pm

[opinion] No self-respecting chef uses an electric knife!

Amateurs probably like electric knives because their “real” knives are dull.

SHARPEN THEM FIRST!!! :-) :-) :-)

16 Cameron November 21, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Karl and Brett,

thanks for the tips on carving. i definitely agree with having a sharp knife. if your knife is good enough and sharp enough, there really is no need for an electric knife.

as far as variations on the seasoning, what else do you recommend? sage and rosemary are pretty typical, but has anyone had some success with other experimentation?

17 Eelfinn_Ty November 21, 2008 at 2:29 pm

I cooked my first turkey several years ago and used Alton Brown’s recipe. It was AMAZING. This was the first juicy turkey I had ever eaten. When I use his recipe now I cook the turkey a little longer so it comes off the bone easier, but it is never dry. If you’ve never tried a brine it is well worth the extra effort.

18 D Morris November 21, 2008 at 6:18 pm

It’s not true that you HAVE to thaw your turkey. You can cook a fully frozen turkey. I’ve done this the last couple of years and the turkey comes out just fine. Here’s a link to a webpage on how to do it.

http://busycooks.about.com/od/thanksgiving/a/cookfrozenturke.htm

Doc

19 Roger Imhada November 21, 2008 at 6:32 pm

An Electric carving knife is about as manly as shaving with an electric razor. i.e as manly as a pink satin dress.
A post about maintaining and sharpening knives the proper way would be fitting at this time of year what with more carving to be done over the holiday season.

20 elena November 21, 2008 at 9:01 pm

don’t forget the best post-thanksgiving dinner part (as a Canadian, not celebrating thanksgiving this weeked, maybe I’m jumping the gun)… turkey soup!

take everything that didn’t get eaten or made into sandwiches, bones included, throw it in a big pot with lots and lots of water, and boil the heck out of it; simmer all day long.
when it cools enough to touch, take out the bones and pick the good meat off of them. strain out the icky bits. cool the broth overnight, outside or in the fridge, and skim off the solid layer of fat in the morning, according to your preference.

voila! you have delicious broth & meat, ready to be made into the most comforting winter soup ever. plenty of onions, peas, carrots, and you’re set!

it takes a long time, but most of that time you don’t actually have to do anything. of course it freezes well, too!

21 Dave November 22, 2008 at 12:40 am

Very insightful article, I particularly liked the instructional video. As I don’t live in the US, I hardly ever eat turkey, but as Mr. Engel points out it’s great for chicken aswell. Will try this soon!

22 Erich November 22, 2008 at 2:08 am

Excellent and timely article. Almost exactly what I would have said, except that every real man knows that the turkey juices that are left over in the pan make the best gravy,

Other than that, very nice.

23 Orneryswife November 23, 2008 at 5:25 pm

It sounds like it would be a fire hazard, but the best turkeys I have ever had were cooked in a brown paper grocery bag. Thoroughly grease the inside of the bag, then put your turkey in it and fold the opening underneath the bird. Bake at 325 until done (check with a meat thermometer) The bird falls off the bones, and is very moist and tender. The skin browns in the bag as if it were basted, and the oil that drips down on the bird acts as an automatic baster.

I can’t testify to how sanitary this would be–but we’ve eaten them like this for years and no ill effects.
tm

24 jack burton November 23, 2008 at 6:51 pm

If you’re ready to step up to the next level of turkey cooking you can try spatchcocking one… you’ll never go back to normal again.

http://hubpages.com/hub/Spatchcocked-Turkey-The-newest-trend-for-Thanksgiving-Dinner

25 Vermont Ferret November 23, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Thanks for using and linking this photo to my Flickr site. My dad was an expert turkey carver – at this dinner in 1953 he was carving for 14 people.

26 Brett November 23, 2008 at 8:32 pm

@Vermont Ferret-

Thanks for making it available Vermont Ferret! As soon as I saw that pic, I knew it was the one we had to use for the post. Your dad definitely looks manly carving that turkey.

27 Chris November 25, 2008 at 6:32 am

Ugh, who’s going to carve a turkey like that at table in front of guests? I saw less graphic images in “We Were Soldiers”

28 Zack November 25, 2008 at 1:59 pm

Uh, Chris is right. A real man would carve it in front of guests, which would definitely require a more subtle approach:
http://newsinfusion.com/video_details.php?videoId=252
This guy’s the executive chef at Disney. The main difference is just the order you do the stuff in.

29 JC November 25, 2008 at 9:38 pm

@Chris
A gentleman should be able to accomplish the task at table and remain properly attired. The use of tongs to manipluate the excision of the leg quarter and the wing section should create little problem. Slicing carefully following the rib bones until the breast meat is almost-but-not completely severed from the carcass allows wonderfully neat slices to be severed by cutting at a right angle to the severing cut. Quite easily done, but I seem to have misplaced my kinotropic records of the task. A shame, rather.

30 Ted Slampyak November 27, 2008 at 10:06 pm

THANK YOU for this wonderful instructional video!

Today was my first time as host for a large family Thanksgiving get-together, and as the host it was my honor to carve the turkey. Your video outlined everything so well that I was able to do a bang-up job my first time, with just my trusty Chicago Cutlery carving knife!

I didn’t expect to have as much fun as I had. It was a BLAST! People were complementing my work and amazed that it was my first time carving. I felt such pride at being to step up to the plate on this rite of passage.

Again, thank you so much for really adding to my enjoyment of the holiday. I’ve been a fan of Art of Manliness for some time now, but now I’m a real zealot!

31 MARK November 28, 2008 at 1:13 am

Very helpful video! Sure wish I had found it BEFORE carving the turkey this year. But I am glad to have the tips and the technique for next time .

Thanks again … nicely done and done like a MAN!

32 Chuck December 1, 2008 at 7:55 am

I cook mine using indirect heat on a Webber Charcoal Grill. Try putting some butter with rosemary, thyme and sage under the skin which will also help keep the bird moist. I use some hickory chips, makes a nice smokey gravy

33 R. J. Vincent August 16, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Great article. I don’t know how much salt brining adds to the turkey but since I have hypertension and my significant other has to restrict her sodium intake, I don’t brine my turkey. Like Chuck I put butter on the outside of the turkey and I also put some seasoned butter under the skin. All you need to do is melt some butter, add your seasoning(s) (your choice), harden the butter in the fridge and then take pieces of it and slip it under the skin. It takes a couple of minutes but it makes the skin nice and crispy and adds moisture to the meat. The seasoning(s) get into the meat and make for a really great turkey.

34 Dr. Feelgood October 16, 2009 at 1:11 pm

With the season approaching I have a late-to-the-party tip. Instead of one large turkey, roast two smaller birds. You can dress the best looking one for presentation on the platter and surround it with the other’s carved remains. I add chopped apples to the cavity mix (onion, celery, carrot, garlic, herbs–briefly sauteed and loosely packed) of my brined turkeys. Place more chopped veggies and apples with the giblets in a drip pan on the bottom of the oven and set the birds directly on the rack above. The drippings make the most fantastic gravy you’ll ever serve.

35 Jake the Jarhead November 20, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Just re-visited your “how to carve a turkey” video. I studied it last year and blew the family away with an awesome platter presentation. Looking forward to doing it again this year. When done this way, and arranged properly, it’s the best way I’ve ever seen a turkey presented. Additionally, cutting the breast across the grain makes for juicier white meat. Thanks guys, and keep up the good work on a great site.

36 Karl November 21, 2009 at 11:23 am

Another good way to brine a turkey is to do a dry brine. Make a mixture of 2 cups of Kosher Salt, 1/2 cup “Herbs de Provence” seasoning, 2 tsp of cheyenne pepper, 1 tablespoon of black bepper. Rub the Turkey down with olive oil inside and out and put the bird in a large foil pan. Pack the bird with the salt mixture inside and out. Don’t skimp. Pack it thick on the outside. Place uncovered in the fridge for 18-24 hrs. Take out and rinse off and rub down with butter. Place in oven to cook for normal times. I like to smoke mine at 275 degrees for 4 hrs. Also great on a gas grill rotisserie for 3.5 hrs. For a baste I mix melted butter, sage, rosemary and orange juice. Makes a great glaze and helps to give the bird a golden brown skin which everyone likes. When done let rest for 30-40 minutes before carving. Try it, I know you will like it.

37 Adam Garratt November 24, 2009 at 11:43 am

Turkey is tasty but It can go dry easily if you dont let it rest, and that goes for any meat, take it out the oven and leave it alone!

38 Peter November 26, 2009 at 12:51 pm

I follow the Cook’s Illustrated method for a turkey. It has yet to fail and I regularly get “the best I’ve ever had” comments. Nothing tops an immersion brine. You don’t need to add herbs or anything and it’s not a very involved process. Also, cut an orange in half and stick it inside the bird…great flavor that adds that something extra. As for how long to cook it, just go by the temp readings….don’t pay much attention to a time as they are only useful for estimating a cooking time.

This year we got a 19 lb bird. It’s the biggest I’ve done, and we’ll see how it comes out.

Peace and Blessing….Cheers!

39 adam November 27, 2009 at 3:26 pm

I live in england so we dont have thanksgiving but this post still applies to christmas, I think people can get frightened because of the sheer size of the bird, but heck its just a large chicken and you should treat it the same way, thanks for the post, very helpful, I will be using your advice this year for sure.

Adam

40 Kerry23sK January 27, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Various spheres of our life consume a lot of time and efforts, thus why must we waste valuable time for analytical essay composing? That will be wise to use some famous media essay service to buy the argumentative essay from, I think.

41 Jeremy Van Wert November 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Fantastic video. I will allow my friends to be amazed at my genious, then share your website with them. Nicely done.

42 thewiseking November 21, 2012 at 10:39 am

Nice vid! What’s interesting here is that unlike alot of what you publish on Art of Manliness, proper turkey carving in no way, shape or form resembles the hack jobs our dad’s used to do.

43 NickT December 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I followed this article for Christmas with my in-laws – carving was much easier than I anticipated. And all the relatives said this was the best turkey they have had… My wife says I have to do this every year now.

44 Dave January 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I have to dispute the comment about larger turkeys being tough. I raise my own poultry in my yard, and this year’s tom dressed out at 34 lbs, and was by far the best tasting bird yet

45 Lou June 28, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Great article.

I’m a recent visiter to AoM, and found this post by accident – glad I did!

This is the way I’ve done my family’s birds for the last few years (Thanksgiving and Christmas!), and there are only two things I do different:

First, I don’t just cook it with the breast meat right there in the hot range. We start the bird breast side down to get the back of the bird – especially the thighs that always come out underdone otherwise, unless you overcook the breast meat. Usually this is about 45 minutes for a 21 lb. bird. We also do 15 minutes on each side. This is only possible with a V rack in the pan, by the way. Once those stages are done, we finish the bird off on it’s back – breast side up. I usually use clean dish towels (linen, not the fluffy kind) to protect my hands from the hot bird when turning. Seems like a lot of work, but it’s only a couple times a year, and it’s a nice team effort for my wife and I, and we notice the difference in the finished product.

Next, I save a bit of the pan drippings (if you have enough to spare after making gravy, use hot chicken broth if not) and drizzle it over the finished platter as soon as you have it assembled. Not too much, just enough to leave a small pool in the platter under all the meat. Your turkey will not only look awesome, it will be twice as juicy after soaking a small amount of that broth back up.

Cheers!

46 Viv August 21, 2013 at 11:02 am

i really enjoyed reading this article.

I recently moved to the States and I find it to be the best thing. The people are wonderful and I feel right at home. Im proud to be a productive member of this society.

i hope to do the turkey justice this year! :)

V.

47 Phinneus September 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Carving at the table is great for photos, but while the guests ooh and ah at your skills, everything else is getting cold. Carving and slicing takes time!!Carve in the kitchen, set up your platter, tent with foil, use the juices to finish your home made gravy, finish the multiple vegetables…plate and serve all at the SAME TIME and serve everything HOT and perfect. That is what is really impressive and the challenge of a big dinner for a big crowd. And yessss leave the electric knive in the drawer with the panties!!

48 Scott Loewen October 10, 2013 at 6:45 pm

I LIKE it. I was a meat cutter in years past but only beef & pork. This makes sense!

49 Ed Deerly October 14, 2013 at 11:45 am

I agree with Phinneus. Carving at the table is a bad idea. These instructions are spot on. I usually carve the legs instead of leaving them whole, but that’s just my family’s thing. They did forget about the best part of the turkey, though, the “oysters.” On the mid-back, about where the thigh joins, are two little “nuggets” of meat that are juicy and delectable. They are also reserved for whoever carves the bird!

50 Trent November 17, 2013 at 8:54 pm

This will be the third year I have used this recipe for Thanksgiving with my family — everyone loves it, and I am constantly adulated for cooking the best turkey ever! Thanks!

51 Nick February 20, 2014 at 11:00 pm

The meat on the top is white meat, which is a lot drier than the dark meat. Cook the turkey upside down and the white meat will marinate in the juices and stay nice and..well…juicy.

52 Dan March 20, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Listen up kids! This article does a good job of giving the basics but (a) real men use a fork to hold the turkey while cutting the meat instead of pawing it with their hands, and (b) real men are confident enough about their carving skills to carve at the table. Anything else marks you as being an cowardly and clueless wuss.

And, no, you don’t carve the entire turkey at one go. You ask each person (ladies first, or course) which bit they would like and carve to order.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Site Meter