(StatePoint) Cooking is only part of Thanksgiving prep. For many hosts, carving the bird represents the most intimidating feast feat.
Don’t chicken out! There are some quick tips you can follow to demystify the process, from the carving experts at Smith’s Housewares, a manufacturer of innovative knife sharpeners and kitchen tools:
• The first thing you will want to carve out is a proper amount of time to cook the turkey. When coordinating your schedule that morning, keep in mind that between taking the turkey out of the oven and cooking it, you should allot about 20 minutes. This waiting period is not frivolous. It makes the handling of the hot turkey easier on your hands, and gives the meat’s juices crucial time to redistribute.
• If your turkey is tied, remove the string first. Start by removing each leg and thigh from the body of the turkey, using your hands to separate, and your knife to slice through the meat.
• Next, separate the thighs from the legs by pulling on a leg and using your knife to slice. Target the ‘V’ area with your knife, feeling around until you find the joint. Slice the meat away from the thigh bone and place it directly on your serving platter.
• The next step is to remove the wings using a similar method. By identifying where the joint is; you can avoid slicing bone.
• Using an even stroke, slice each breast from slightly off the midline. Slice down, gently pulling the breast away on the side you’ve chosen. Slice each breast into quarter inch thick slices. Place on your platter. Alternatively, cut slices of breast directly off the turkey, parallel to the rib cage. Just ensure you keep the slices even on both sides.
• Be a sharp chef. To make the job smooth sailing, and avoid tearing the meat and making a mess, use a sharp, straightedge knife and a carving fork to steady your meat. You’ll save time and energy and get better results.
• In the days leading up to the holiday, make sure your kitchen is ready to go by sharpening all the knives you will need for food prep that day, particularly your turkey carving knife. A compact electric knife sharpener is a great kitchen essential to have on hand for everyday use, as well as for major holiday feasts, as it is ideal for precise sharpening of straight edge knives. Those from Smith’s Housewares feature a manual slot for polishing a freshly ground edge or a quick touch-up of already sharp knives. They can be found at walmart.com.
• Add a garnish to the serving platter to make your turkey a feast for the eyes. As the main course, it deserves a bit of extra flair. Fresh in-season herbs, fruits and vegetables all work well to complete the look.
Don’t let the final throes of preparation be the most difficult on Turkey Day. All you need are the right, well-maintained tools and proper technique.
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