Tips, Techniques and how to carve and slice the perfect Turkey | Grilling with Rich Tips, Techniques and how to carve and slice the perfect Turkey

Serving & Presentation: Carving and Slicing Turkey Techniques

Posted By: Richard Wachtel
Published: November 11, 2015

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While it is important to know how to smoke a turkey, it is just as important to know ho to perfectly carve the turkey after you are done cooking. Thanks to the National Turkey Federation here are some great tips and some great techniques on how to slice that perfectly smoked turkey!

Carving and Slicing Techniques

To obtain the highest yield from cooked turkey, it is essential to have proper carving and slicing techniques. These techniques are also important for eye-appealing presentation. Here are some simple techniques to use when carving and slicing:

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Richard Wachtel

  • Allow turkey products of more than 10 pounds to stand at room temperature for 10 to 20 minutes after cooking and before slicing. This allows the juices to distribute evenly throughout the turkey. Netting and cooking bags are easier to remove after the recommended 10 minutes standing time. The maximum standing time should be 20 minutes.
  • Slice or carve on a sanitized cutting surface. Knives, pans and covers should be sanitized too. Re-sanitize board and knives every 30 minutes.
    Wear disposable food-handling gloves while carving or thoroughly wash your hands frequently.
  • Immediately after the 10 to 20 minute holding time, carve turkey from it’s carcass into major sections (i.e., breasts, thighs, drumsticks and wings).
    To serve turkey hot, place the sections in pans. Cover with film to retain heat and moisture and to minimize the possibility of contamination. Hold at 140ºF or higher in a hot holding device (e.g., cabinet, steam table, bain arie). Turkey must be at least 140ºF when placed in the holding pans. The heating device will only maintain temperature. A maximum holding time of 20 to 30 minutes is recommended.
  • Slice the sections into serving pieces, plate and garnish.If turkey is not to be served immediately, slice and shingle no more than 1-inch deep in shallow steam table pans. Cover with film, refrigerate at 35ºF to 40ºF. We recommend cooked, sliced turkey reach 40ºF in 2 hours or less.

Carving Whole Body Turkey and Parts.
The whole body turkey is a favorite for carving presentation in a buffet. These step-by-step instructions show the best procedures for maximum yield and most attractive presentation.

Carving the Drumsticks and Thighs

  • Remove drumstick and thigh by pressing leg away from body. The joint connecting leg to backbone will often snap free or may be severed easily with a knife point. Cut dark meat completely from the body by following body contour carefully with a knife.
  • Place drumstick and thigh on cutting surface and cut through connecting joint.
  • Tilt drumstick to a convenient angle, slicing toward cutting surface as shown.
  • To slice thigh meat, hold firmly on cutting surface with fork. Cut slices evenly and parallel to the bone.

Carving the Breast

Turkey breasts are typically sliced into generous slices. Presentation carving method

  • Place knife parallel and as close to wing as possible. Make deep cut into breast, cutting to the bone. This is the base cut. All breast slices will stop at this horizontal cut.
  • After making the base cut, carve downward, ending at base cut slightly higher up on breast. Keep slices thin and even.


Also of Interest:

Head over to our BBQ Themed Thanksgiving Page where you can find recipes, how to’s, videos and so much more on how to make your BBQ themed Thanksgiving amazing this year!

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