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How to carve the perfect turkey

Ahead of Thanksgiving, a local chef is sharing tips and tricks for carving the perfect bird.

TAMPA, Fla. — Turkey is taken very seriously on Thanksgiving. From thawing to cooking to carving, preparing the bird can be a lot of work.

Executive Chef of Gaston’s Culinary Services, Gaston Meredith, says carving a turkey doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you have the right tools.

“If you have a sharp knife, and you have a small lesson, it’s quite easy,” Meredith explained.

When first taking the turkey out of the oven, you will want to let it rest for about 15 to 30 minutes. Meredith says cutting a turkey too early could result in the skin falling off. Letting it rest also allows the turkey to absorb its juices.

When you are ready to cut, you will want to start with each leg of the turkey.

“If it’s cooked properly, you just pull it down and you have a joint where you can disconnect it,” Meredith said.

After cutting the legs off the turkey, you can cut each leg in half to make eating easy for your guests.

Next, you will want to tackle the breast of the turkey. Meredith says you will want to place your knife as close to the center of the turkey as possible, cutting along the bone.

“Just keep on slicing all the way through, and you will have a full breast intact,” Meredith explained.

Then, you will want to take off the wings. If the turkey is cooked well, the wings will pull right off. Meredith recommends leaving the wings on until this point as it helps stabilize the turkey while you’re cutting the breast and legs.

By now, you will have a turkey that is almost ready to go. You may still have some meat left on the sides and underneath the turkey. Meredith says you can use this meat for gravy or dressing. You can even boil the carcass and have endless recipes from all that turkey flavor.

Lastly, it’s time to cut and plate your turkey.

“You’ll want to cut on the bias,” Meredith said.

‘On the bias’ refers to cutting the meat at an angle. Meredith says it gives it a better look in the final presentation. If you have let the turkey rest properly, cutting the turkey now should keep the skin sealed to the meat.

After you have plated your turkey, top it with some of those delicious gravy juices, and add some greens to give the plate some color.

Now it’s time for the best part. Dig in!