How to carve the perfect turkey

Before you start carving, be sure your TNP turkey has rested for at least 45 minutes.

This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, producing an even better flavour – and makes the bird easier to carve.

Your stage by stage guide

The instructions below will take you step by step through carving a turkey. With this method we are going to remove the breast as a whole rather than carve it straight off the bird, which can lead to the meat drying out.

By keeping the juices back from the roasting tray and pouring them over the carved meat you will return all the moisture and flavour lost during the cooking process to the meat.

  1. Firstly, and most importantly, after the turkey has been removed from the oven, allow it to rest in a warm place – covered in foil – for at least 45 minutes. This will allow all the juices to soak back into the bird. Next, ensure you have a nice warm plate on which to place the carved meat.
  2. To carve the bird first make sure it is placed – on its back – on a good, sturdy carving board. This will make carving easier and prolong the life of your precious knife.
  3. Hold the drumstick by the end and gently pull it away at right angles to the bird. Now, using your knife, slice the skin between the drumstick and breast and start to cut the whole leg away.
  4. By pulling and cutting at the same time the entire leg will come away until only the leg joint attaches it.  (Sometimes the leg will come away on its own, but if it doesn’t carefully use the tip of the knife to separate the leg bone from the rest of the bird). Place the leg to one side.
  5. Again, by using a combination of cutting and gentle pulling, remove the wing at the second joint from the body. This should leave one wing joint still attached to the turkey. Place the wing on the warmed plate.
  6. Tackle the remaining leg and wing using the same three steps described above.
  7. The breast is now fully exposed and ready to remove. (By leaving one wing joint still attached the turkey will remain stable).
  8. Carefully cut down along one side of the breast bone, along the top of the bird and, gradually, using your fingers for help, prise the whole breast away from the bone. By pulling and cutting at the same time you will be able to remove the whole breast lobe with the skin still on.
  9. Once the whole lobe is removed you can slice it (as you would a loaf of bread) into nice turkey slices. Place the slices on the warmed serving plate.
  10. Now, remove the meat from the leg. First cut the leg into two – the thigh and the drum – by cutting through the centre leg joint. If your knife doesn’t pass through easily you are probably cutting in the wrong place: try again but move the knife slightly to the left or right.
  11. Once separated, remove the thigh meat from the bone (it should almost fall off) and place on the warmed plate. (At this stage, you could also try using a fork to help remove the meat).
  12. By holding the drumstick at the end you can slice downward to remove the meat. Place it on the warmed plate.
  13. Once all the meat has been carved off and transferred to the plate take the fantastically tasty turkey stock from the roasting tin and pour over the meat.
  14. Finally, prepare yourself and your guests to taste what will be the perfect Christmas turkey.
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