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Carving and Slicing Techniques
To obtain the highest yield from cooked turkey, it is essential to have
proper carving and slicing techniques. These techniques are also important
for eye-appealing presentation. Here are some simple techniques to use
when carving and slicing:
- Allow turkey products of more than 10 pounds to stand at room temperature
for 10 to 20 minutes after cooking and before slicing. This allows
the juices to distribute evenly throughout the turkey. Netting and
cooking bags are easier to remove after the recommended 10 minutes
standing time. The maximum standing time should be 20 minutes.
- Slice or carve on a sanitized cutting surface. Knives, pans and
covers should be sanitized too. Re-sanitize board and knives every
- Wear disposable food-handling gloves while carving or thoroughly
wash your hands frequently.
- Immediately after the 10 to 20 minute holding time, carve turkey
from it's carcass into major sections (i.e., breasts, thighs, drumsticks
- To serve turkey hot, place the sections in pans. Cover with film
to retain heat and moisture and to minimize the possibility of contamination.
Hold at 140ºF or higher in a hot holding device (e.g., cabinet, steam
table, bain arie). Turkey must be at least 140ºF when placed in the
holding pans. The heating device will only maintain temperature.
A maximum holding time of 20 to 30 minutes is recommended.
- Slice the sections into serving pieces, plate and garnish.
- If turkey is not to be served immediately, slice and shingle no
more than 1-inch deep in shallow steam table pans. Cover with film,
refrigerate at 35ºF to 40ºF. We recommend cooked, sliced turkey reach
40ºF in 2 hours or less.
Slicing Turkey Products
The carving and slicing techniques listed for whole turkey and parts
also apply to turkey products. Here are some additional slicing tips:
- Slice fully cooked turkey rolls, slabs, ovals and other shapes
crosswise to desired thickness. Slice at a slight angle to achieve
a more oval-shaped piece of meat for special plate presentation or
for oval-shaped sandwich bread.
- Carve the fully cooked breast or half-breast roast lengthwise with
- Let netted roast stand 10 minutes after cooking for easy removal
- For ease of machine slicing, chill turkey first.
- Because salt performs an important binding function, "no-salt" or "low-salt" products
do not slice as easily, especially roasts made from more than one
Carving Whole Body Turkey and Parts.
The whole body turkey is a favorite for carving presentation in a buffet. These
step-by-step instructions show the best procedures for maximum yield and
most attractive presentation.
Carving the drumstick and thigh.
|1. Remove drumstick
and thigh by pressing leg away from body. The joint connecting
leg to backbone will often snap free or may be severed easily with
a knife point. Cut dark meat completely from the body by following
body contour carefully with a knife.
|2. Place drumstick and
thigh on cutting surface and cut through connecting joint.
|3. Tilt drumstick to
a convenient angle, slicing toward cutting surface as shown.
|4. To slice thigh meat,
hold firmly on cutting surface with fork. Cut slices evenly and
parallel to the bone.
Carving the breast.
Turkey breasts are typically sliced into generous slices.
Presentation carving method