How To Carve a Whole Turkey. Properly.

Norman-Rockwell-thanksgivingIsrael’s consumes more turkey per capita than any other country in the world [Ed. except the United States], owing in part to the fact that we raise the wrong cattle here. So turkey is the meat protein of choice for us. We eat it in shwarma, deli meat, and hot dogs (God help us), among other things. Ironically, a typical Israeli oven can’t roast a whole bird. Well, not a gargantuan 15kg anyway. Luckily they come in all sizes, and the smaller ones can be configured to fit in the smaller hotboxes.

Carving a whole turkey is one of the culinary glories that Americans brought to Israel. It is the common pastoral scene we picture when thinking about a carved turkey: a holiday dinner, the whole bird being presented on a large platter to the patriarch of the family, who labors over slicing the turkey for the wide-eyed dinner participants.

Which is, of course, totally the wrong way to do it.

The method of carving we think of is slow, inefficient, and tremendously wasteful of the meat, which is simply not okay. Aside from the morsels that get left behind, carving a bird at the table with a ceremonial knife that hasn’t been properly sharpened in a generation begs for glasses, dishes, gravy boats and whatnot to be knocked about by someone whose only other culinary contribution to the house is flipping burgers on the grill during the summer. And if you think twenty people can sit calmly around the table watching some calcified old geezer hack up a bird his wife spent hours preparing, then perhaps you do live in a Rockwell painting.

There’s no denying a whole roast turkey is a very pretty thing to look at when done properly, so my suggestion is take a picture of it, post it to Pinterest for a keepsake, and then roll up your sleeves, ’cause things are gonna get greasy.

And while I freely acknowledge that you’ll find variations on how to carve a turkey, ignore them. This is both the quicker and the safer way to do it. I only say this after carving hundreds of these birds in all sizes.

For those who remember:



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