A roasted turkey should never be carved immediately after removing it from the oven. Rest turkey for a minimum of 20 minutes to allow the juices to settle and redistribute throughout the meat. The meat will be tender, flavorful, and easier to carve. Tent the turkey with aluminum foil during the resting period to hold in the heat. More or less resting time may be required depending on the size of the turkey. It is important to use a sharp knife when carving. Follow these steps for proper carving:
Begin carving by removing the legs. Slice down between the leg and the body. The leg should move easily and the joint connecting the leg to the body may even snap free without cutting, but if it does not, cut through the joint to release the leg from the body. Repeat this for the other leg.
The upper portion of the leg (thigh) can be separated from the lower portion of the leg (drumstick), by cutting through the joint connecting the two portions.
Both the thigh and the drumstick can be left as is or they can be carved further. Holding the thigh with a meat fork, carve even slices that are parallel to the bone.
The drumstick can be held on end and slices can be carved up to the bone.
The wing can be removed by pulling it away from the body and cutting into the hollow area between the wing and the breast. When the wing joint (shoulder joint) has been exposed, cut through it while continuing to pull on the wing in order to release it from the body. Repeat this for the other wing.
The portion of the wing nearest to the body, known as the drummette, can be cut at the elbow joint. The flat middle section beyond the elbow may be used as one piece.
The first step in removing the breast meat is to make a horizontal cut from near the location of the wing toward the ribs. Cut horizontally as far as possible.
Make vertical cuts down through the breast meat to the horizontal cut that was made previously. All of the slices will stop at the horizontal cut, allowing for even slices.
The two breast halves may also be removed whole and then placed on a cutting board to carve even slices across the grain of the meat.