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How to Cut Turkey the Right Way

A person cuts into the side of a roasted turkey.
Sean Locke Photography/Shutterstock.com

Carving a turkey is a celebrated tradition in almost every household. But you can also feel a lot of pressure if you’re selected to slice the holiday bird. That’s why you should always come to the dinner table with the one thing you must have for carving turkey: a sharp knife.

While it might seem like simple and obvious advice, the best way to cut your turkey and the true key to perfect slices is a sharp knife.

Why does your knife matter? Well, a sharp knife guarantees a clean, juicy cut when carving your turkey. Find a knife that’s five to six inches long, and fits comfortably in your hand. Then be sure it’s extra sharp. That sharpness matters because we’re trying to cut a turkey here—not saw into it.

That’s the other helpful hint when it comes to how to use your knife. You want to “slice” not “saw” your holiday bird. A sharp knife can gently slice the bird and doesn’t require a sawing motion. “Sawing” the meat into slices can actually shred the turkey’s muscle fibers and cause the juices to spill out. This leads to dryer cuts of meat for your special meal.

Overall, a sharp knife ensures a clean, easy cut into your meat. Turkey carving knife sets are excellent for guaranteeing a quality cut. While electric knives are a helpful tool, they’re not always the best at navigating meats with tender joints and cartilage throughout.

After cooking your holiday turkey, save your drippings for a rich and savory Thanksgiving gravy.

Kelsey Opel Kelsey Opel
Kelsey Opel is a freelance writer and digital storyteller based in Austin, Texas. She enjoys writing for food, entertainment and mental health spaces. Off the clock, she loves indulging in an avocado margarita and chips and queso at her favorite Tex-Mex spot in town. Read Full Bio »
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