When the turkey is done, gently cover it with a tent of foil to keep the heat in and let it rest for 20 minutes so the juices will settle back into the meat. (For tips on roasting times and how to know when a turkey is cooked, click here.)
To start the carving, first get your tools together. You’ll need a cutting board that won’t slip. To keep the counter clean and keep any juices that will flow in one place, putting your cutting board in a baking sheet with sides or a tray is your best option. Get your slicing knife and carving fork. To make your task easier, be sure your knife is sharp.
If you roasted your turkey with stuffing, now is the time to remove the stuffing from the turkey and transfer it to a serving bowl. Once it’s in the bowl, you can cover it with foil and a thick towel so the stuffing stays hot while you’re carving.
To carve, start with the leg/thigh portions. Remove them from the body of the bird using your slicing knife and twisting slightly.
Remove the wings in the same way.
To slice the breast, run your knife along the breastbone to separate the meat at that point. Then make a horizontal cut into the breast at the bottom so slices come off easily. At this point you can carve nice, even slices of white meat.
It’s best to stop carving and join the family for the meal at this point. The meat you didn’t carve will stay warmer and moister on the bone, and you can cut more later if you need it.
If you like the idea of carving at the table, you might want to practice once before Thanksgiving. Use the same technique on a roast chicken so you’re comfortable carving in front of a crowd. And don’t worry if you don’t get it perfect: No matter how it’s carved, it will still be delicious.