How to Carve a Thanksgiving Turkey, Step By Step

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Congratulations! You’ve made it to the very final step before it’s time to eat Thanksgiving dinner: carving the turkey.

Everyone’s starving and staring as you perform arguably the most critical part of the meal. In other words, the pressure’s seriously on.

Carving a turkey can be kind of tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Just follow along with the handy dandy gifs below that show Boston Market’s executive chef Rik Kiessling expertly breaking down the bird step by step. By the time you finish reading, you’ll be an expert.

Step 1: Get the right tools, which are tongs, a carving knife and carving fork.

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PHOTO: Turkey Carving Step-By-Step

Step 2: Let the turkey rest for 30 to 40 minutes while covered in foil.

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PHOTO: Turkey Carving Step-By-Step

Step 3: Remove the legs: slice the skin between the legs and body.

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PHOTO: Turkey Carving Step-By-Step

Step 4: Remove the legs: pull the legs away from the body until the joints pop.

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PHOTO: Turkey Carving Step-By-Step

Step 5: Remove the legs: Find the center of the leg and separate the thigh and drumstick. Place drumstick on platter.

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PHOTO: Turkey Carving Step-By-Step

Step 6: Remove the legs: Cut the thigh meat along the bone on each side and remove the meat, then slice.

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PHOTO: Turkey Carving Step-By-Step

Step 7: Carve the breast for tableside: Find the center breastbone along the top of the body. Use the carving knife to slice downward along the breastbone, moving the knife along the natural contours of the turkey’s body.

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PHOTO: Turkey Carving Step-By-Step

Step 8: Carve the breast for tableside: Cut slices 1/8-inch-thick parallel to the cutting board inward toward the breastbone and place on platter.

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PHOTO: Turkey Carving Step-By-Step

Step 9: Carve the breast for platter: Find the center breastbone along the top of the body. Use the carving knife to slice downward along the breastbone, moving the knife along the natural contours of the turkey’s body. Continue toward the bottom and slice parallel to the cutting board along the carcass to remove the bottom of the breast.

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PHOTO: Turkey Carving Step-By-Step

Step 10: Carve the breast for platter: Cut slices 1/8-inch-thick against the grain.

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PHOTO: Turkey Carving Step-By-Step

Step 11: Remove the wings: Similar to the legs, pull the wings away from the body of the turkey until you can see the joint. Then, use the carving knife to slice through the joint to remove the wings. Place wings on platter.

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PHOTO: Turkey Carving Step-By-Step

Step 12: Remove the wishbone: Carve the meat away from the wishbone until it can be removed from the carcass and clean off excess meat.

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PHOTO: Turkey Carving Step-By-Step

Step 13: Congratulations! You have successfully carved a turkey.

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PHOTO: Turkey Carving Step-By-Step
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