Tips To Carve Your Turkey Safely

Nothing disrupts a national holiday like a trip to the emergency room. We have some turkey carving tips to help you deliver the star of your feast safely to your Thanksgiving table.



On Thanksgiving, in homes throughout the Twin Cities, the traditional turkey is brined or buttered or rubbed with herbs and carefully roasted to crispy golden brown perfection. Flushed cooks proudly present the savory star of the Thanksgiving table in a cloud of sage and thyme, and then the roast bird is whisked back into the kitchen to face the carving knives.

Whenever you use knives, there is risk of injury. This is one of the reasons that the kitchen is one of the most accident-prone rooms in the home. On Thanksgiving, injury risks are amplified by the distraction of holiday guests and excited children, as well as the fact that working surfaces are more crowded than usual. As you prepare to slice your bird for the serving platter, we have a few tips you can use to make sure that the only trip you make after you carve is to your dining room—and not to the emergency room.

  • Carve on a stable work surface. Don’t try to balance your turkey on a wobbly uneven surface as you carve. If the bird slips, the knife might slip too.
  • Cut away from your body and limbs. Carve away from yourself to minimize the risk that too much force might send the knife through your hand—or cause another injury.
  • Familiarize yourself with your carving tools. Knife sets include boning as well as carving knives. The carving knives are designed to be safer as you work.
  • Use a second utensil to hold your bird as you carve. A large fork is an ideal utensil to steady your bird—never hold the turkey in place with your hand. If your knife slips, you may nick your fork, but you won’t slice through your hand.
  • Cut larger sections of meat from your bird and move them to a secondary surface to carve them into serving-sized slices. You don’t have to cut the meat into serving slices directly from your bird. Sections of turkey meat are easier to control and cut on a flat secondary surface. Another tip: slicing against the grain may not reduce your injury risk, but it will make for a more tender serving of turkey.

With a little advance planning, and attention to details like stable surfaces and proper tools, you minimize any risk of injury while carving up the bird, and will maximize your family’s enjoyment of the Thanksgiving feast. That’s just one more thing to be thankful for as you enjoy your holiday.

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