***VERY SHARP KNIFE.***
STEP 1: REMOVE THE WISHBONE
This step isn’t absolutely necessary but it makes for an easier removal of the breast meat and wing later on.
Cut along the perimeter of V-shaped wishbone to expose it.
Jason Bergman for Jive Turkey
With your finger, dig around the wishbone to free it from the meat.
Clean and save for later to make a wish!
STEP 2: REMOVE THE THIGH/LEG.
Removing the thighs will make carving the breast later easier.
Note: A lot of people carve slices off the breast meat as a first dramatic step to carving the whole turkey. This is a terrible idea because it leads to inferior, uneven slices. Don’t be tempted. Follow this guide and everyone will be happier.
Grab the wishbone firmly and pull hard to release it from the breast.
Firmly pull the thigh away from the breast.
This should reveal the joint of the thigh and the hip, which you want to cut through.
After cutting through the joint, pull the thigh and leg away further from the breast so you can carve out the oyster.
The oysters are small, round pieces of dark meat on the back of poultry near the thighs. (To become a real expert on removing the oyster, watch this video, this video, read this and see this.) At this point you may need to turn the bird over to slice out the full oyster. (Also: They are arguably the most flavorful and tender part of the bird, so you might want to just eat it right now before you continue cutting.)
Cutting around the oyster, slice through the thigh to completely separate it from your bird.
Put your leg/thigh piece on a separate cutting board.
STEP 3: SEPARATE THE LEG FROM THE THIGH.
Locate the joint where the leg and thigh bones meet and cut through it.
To remove the thigh bone, slice along each side of the bone and remove.
Now slice the boneless thigh; you can serve the leg whole.
Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the other leg and thigh.
STEP 4: REMOVE THE BREAST.
I REPEAT: Some people insist on carving slices off the breast meat while it’s still attached to the body as part of a whole dramatic, table-side carving thing. Stop it: That will lead to inferior, uneven slices and is way harder. Do it this way instead.
Make an initial cut along the breastbone then begin slicing down against the rib cage.
Repeat on the other breast.
Move the breast meat to a separate cutting board and slice across the grain for even, juicier pieces.
STEP 5: REMOVE THE WINGS.
Locate the joint between the wing and the turkey body. Slice between to remove and serve the wings whole.
See it from start to finish in this video: