How to carve a turkey

Video guide to carving a turkey

I’m going to show you how to carve the perfect Christmas turkey. Once you’ve taken it out of the oven, let it rest for about 20 minutes and then all the juices will go back into the meat itself.

You can see that we have a turkey here but you can also get a turkey crown which is essentially exactly the same but without the legs. So when I show you how to do the crown bit of this turkey, it’s exactly the same method as you would use on this one.

How to carve a turkey leg

So what we’re going to do is start with the leg, followed by the crown. You can see the leg is here and what you want to do is take a large sharp knife, so you want to take a sort of sweeping motion across and if you’re finding it a bit too hot on the end there just get a bit of kitchen towel to protect your hands, and you sweep down to find the joint, like so. And there you have it.

So what we’ve got is a drum stick and a thigh. Then what you want to do, is just feel with your hands where the joint might be, and taking the knife again just try and cut through that, like so. Now you can serve the drum stick either as that on a plate, or, if you want everyone to have a little bit of the drumstick you can slice downwards to take the meat of the bone, like so. Then with the thigh, you can see it’s quite large, so you might want to cut that into two pieces, and again, just run your knife down the side of the bone, like that, to separate it out.

Two different ways to carve a turkey crown

The crown itself has got two techniques that we can use. We can either slice it, or we can remove the whole breast.

We’re going to slice it first of all on this side. Have your knife on a slice angle and just do a sweeping motion across. And what you’re looking for is very thin slices. And again, just sweep down like so. So you continue in that manner all the way down to where you reach the breast bone which runs all along here. And you’ll know when you’ve hit it because you won’t be able to go any further.

If you wanted to do the different method just turn the turkey around, and like I said there is breast bone that runs along here, what you do is you run your knife just to the right hand side of that breast bone. And you can use your fingers to feel it.

And then what you want to do is run your knife along the wish bone which basically runs along the back of the turkey where we’ve stuffed it. Then you want to just ease the meat away from the actual carcass itself. Again just persevere by feel using your knife going down to the bone itself. Then just release it at the bottom. And then go on the outside just to release that skin. And you get a whole lovely turkey breast. There we go.

And then, what you want to do is take your fork and you slice that across into slightly thicker sections, and then you get a really lovely even slice. And then what you can do is pop that on your plate, like so.

How to serve the perfect carved turkey

Always put a bit of  white meat and brown meat on the board as they do have different flavours, like so, and then all you need to do is finish it off with a little bit of gravy and you have the perfect carved turkey.

Serve your turkey with all the trimmings and if you want some great recipes, visit our website.

About our turkeys

Whole bird - A whole turkey is considered good value and highly versatile, making a perfect traditional roast option any time of the year. Left over turkey can be used in a variety of delicious recipes, including a North African Style Salad, or why not use the giblets to make delicious gravy?

Available all year round as frozen basted or unbasted, in a variety of sizes to serve from 3 to 18 people. Fresh whole turkeys tend to be more widely available around the Christmas and Easter period.

Turkey crown - Increasingly popular option due to their ease of cooking, and ease of carving, a turkey crown is just succulent breast meat, with no waste and no fuss.

Why not add a Apricot and Pistachio Stuffing under the skin, or top with bacon for a tasty alternative.


Our range

Standard - A white feathered breed of turkey, which is indoor-reared on farms and fed on a nutritious cereal-based diet. 

Bronze - A slow-growing breed of turkey, with a bronze coloured sheen to its dark brown, almost black feathers - this is what gives the turkey it's bronze colouring when it's cooked. These turkeys are reared as free-range on British farms, with access to roam in outdoor ranges during the day and are fed on a nutritious cereal-based diet.

Quality & Rearing Standards
All the above breeds that are reared on British farms are reared to Quality British Turkey and Assured Food (Red Tractor) certified standards.

The Quality British Turkey and Red Tractor logo on pack guarantees you are buying turkey farmed in the UK to high standards of food safety, traceability and animal welfare. The Quality Mark is backed by a far-reaching quality assurance scheme which highlights some of the highest standards in the world achieved by British turkey farmers. In fact they are independently inspected against more than 200 individual quality criteria covering all aspects of rearing and production.

See more Roast turkey recipes

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