Many years ago, more than I can even believe, I received an electric carving knife as a gift at one of my wedding showers. My thought was who would ever need or use one of these. Yet for some reason I held onto it instead of releasing it through any number of garage sales that we had. Then it happened. I had to cook a turkey one year! And carve it! Finally a use for that electric knife. It doesn’t get pulled out often but when it does I’m so glad I kept it. Not only is it good for turkey, but also ham, rump roast and brisket. Today I’ll share how I carve a turkey – which is probably how everyone does – but maybe someone might be helped!
To carve a turkey first allow the bird to rest after pulling it out of the oven (I’ll give my procedure for roasting a turkey at the end of this post) for about 20 minutes. Next separate the leg by carving into the joint. It may have to be manhandled a bit, but eventually it will release! The thigh can also be taken off now or later depending on your preference. Then take care of the other leg. The best part of using an electric knife is on the breast meat. Start carving slices of breast meat from the outer section of the breast working your way toward the breast bone. Cutting across the grain makes the meat more tender than just pulling it off into long stringy pieces. When that side is finished carve the other breast. Hopefully from the picture you’ll be able to see what I did. Using the electric knife makes the pieces look nice and they can be carved into thick or thin pieces. After I finish the breast I typically use a fork or knife or combination to remove the rest of the meat from the carcass. When all the meat is off, layer it into a serving dish. If serving the turkey later, sprinkle some broth over the meat and refrigerate or freeze. Some of the meat, in my opinion, is only good for soup so I generally separate what I want to serve from what is going to be used at a later time. Don’t forget to freeze the carcass in order to make some delicious stock another time!
Here is how I prepare a turkey to roast.
- Fresh or frozen turkey
- Olive oil, butter, or coconut oil
- If turkey is frozen place in refrigerator to thaw. May take 2 – 3 days depending on size.
- Set oven at 325.
- Remove/release legs from clamp but do not remove the clamp.
- Rinse inside and out with cold water and pat dry.
- Retuck legs into clamp.
- Place in large disposable foil pan. Use a rack if desired.
- Rub with olive oil or melted butter.
- Season as desired with salt and pepper.
- Bake until golden brown.
- Place a piece of foil over the turkey and continue roasting until done.
- The size will determine roasting time. The package should tell you how long. (Check below.)
- To check for doneness insert a meat thermometer into the deep part of the breast and thigh. Temperature should read 165 degrees.
- Allow turkey to rest 20 – 30 minutes before carving.
8 – 12 pounds 2 3/4 – 3 hours; 12 – 14 pounds 3 – 3 3/4 hours; 14 – 18 pounds 3 3/4 – 4 1/4 hours; 18 – 20 pounds 4 1/4 – 4 1/2 hours; 20 – 24 pounds 4 1/2 – 5 hours