Carving Tips with Sharp Hamptons
If this is the first Thanksgiving you’ll be carving an epic bird, fear not, for Greg Hollmann of Sharp Hamptons says getting the job done is easily done in three steps, so long as you’re using the right blade, which he recommended one sharpen before the job to avoid cutting short the holiday with a nasty laceration. The owner of the East End’s mobile knife sharpening business said a 10-inch carving knife—whether one goes Western with a Wüsthof or Eastern with a Shun—is the “perfect size” carver, so long as it’s not serrated.
“I prefer Global Knives, which is a Japanese brand because even though Global Knives are delicate, they hold their edge pretty well,” said Hollmann. “German knives—the Henckel and Wüsthoff knives—can usually take a bit more abuse, so if you hit into it with a turkey bone or something, you’re less likely to get a chip than with a Japanese knife.”
Step one: Let the turkey meditate
After you take a turkey out of the oven, Hollmann said the first step should be to let the bird sit for 30 minutes before taking out the carving knife “because that gets the juices flowing back into the meat, so you won’t get as dry of a turkey.”
Step two: Remove appendages
The next step is removing the legs and wings, which Hollmann said can easily be done with a sharp carving knife by cutting through the skin membrane and down into the actual joint connecting the body of the turkey to its appendages. He suggests holding the legs and wings with one’s hand—wrapped in a paper towel or a clean dish towel—rather than using a cutlery set fork when keeping things steady “because you don’t get good leverage with the fork, but with your hand you can wiggle it a little bit to find out where the joint is and put the knife straight into it. You should be able to easily pry it apart and cut through that joint to get the leg off before you slice the meat off the leg or serve it whole. Then do the same thing cutting right between the wing and the bird.
Step 3: Slice straight off the bird or entirely remove the breast
At this point, folks can decide whether they want to slice a turkey’s breast straight off the bird or remove it from the rib cage before placing it back on the platter. To perform the latter, Hollmann said to cut a center line from the turkey’s neck to the wishbone before following one’s knife around the rib cage and down to remove the turkey’s entire breast from the rib cage. “You’ll always have little bits of meat that you can pick off, but that gets the bulk of the meat off the bird in a few easy steps,” he said.