When the Pie and I would fly home from St. John’s to Ottawa at Christmas, we would generally fly Westjet, because they were very nice to Gren and had the longest window where you could fly a pet at this time of the year. They also offer, as in-flight entertainment, Canadian basic cable. Which includes the Food Network and HGTV. So the Pie and I, since we haven’t had cable in our home for years, would often binge-watch food and home shows the whole flight. And this is how we learned, from Alton Brown, Jamie Oliver, and Gordon Ramsay, how to carve a turkey – quickly and efficiently.
Nobody wants to sit waiting for a special meal and have some dude at the head of the table flash around some knives before doing a hackjob on the bird you just spent the past afternoon slaving over, am I right? Best to carve it yourself when you’re ready, lay it out on whatever pretty dish you like and present it along with the rest of your dishes, which are still hot. Now if you’ll remember our tip from the last time we cooked a turkey at Ali Does It, we time it so the bird is ready an hour or two ahead of time, and spends those remaining hours wrapped snuggly under layers of aluminum foil and towels, staying warm and getting juicy.
Here it is, unwrapped and ready to carve (this one’s a wee one that we cooked up for our potluck). Make sure your carving knife is lovely and sharp for this. I tend to forego the carving set altogether and use one of my stupid sharp knives and my bare hands.
Start right away by making a cut right along the breastbone of the turkey and following it down the curve of the bone to sever both breasts. It seems very dramatic but it’s effective and easy.
You may need to undercut the breasts to get them cleanly off.
Then you can slice them crosswise for thick, juicy pieces that nobody has to fight over. And your whole turkey is now lighter and easier to move around as you get the rest of it.
Next, go for the legs, and pop those suckers off. If they’re sizeable, slice off that gorgeous dark meat and set the bones aside.
Then flip it over and get all that lovely juicy under-meat on the back. There’s more there than you think, and if you’re a fan of dark meat then this is where to find it.
Now you have this carcass, already stripped and ready for the stock pot (if you’re going to make soup afterwards, which you really should).
And then you can arrange your meat however you like in your serving dish (this is an electric skillet to keep them warm in transit – your arrangement will be prettier).
Wasn’t that easy?