Chef/Culinary Consultant, Self-employed
Currently, culinary consultant, freelance food writer, and author of "Welcome to Culinary School." 8 years experience in culinary education management. Prior industry experience includes: Four Seasons Philadelphia, Occasions Caterers, American University, MacArthur Beverages. Education: AOS in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America; BA in English/Theater from Yale University; MS in Adult Learning and Human Resource Development from Virginia Tech. Active in the following professional associations: The International Association of Culinary Professionals, The American Institute of Wine & Food, The American Culinary Federation, and the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington
Carve a Turkey - Breast Meat
Chef Daniel Traster demonstrates how to carve a turkey including how to carve the breast meat.
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Daniel Traster: I am Daniel Traster and I am here to show you how to carve a turkey. Right now I am going to show you how to remove the breast from the rest of the carcass and how to get nice tender slices from the breast. We begin by holding the carcass with the legs and the wings removed upright. There is a breastbone that runs right here down the center between the two breast lobes. So we are going to cut a single slice on either side of that breastbone and you can feel the tough bone as it separates from the meat to allow you to guide your knife along side, either side. Once you have sliced along the breastbone, you can actually pull the meat away from the rest of the carcass. Pull one hand firmly against the breast and separate it from the rest of the carcass and then where it sticks, just slide your knife keeping it close to the bones so you don't lose any meat against the bone.
Once you have it fully pulled away, just take one slice and remove it fully from the carcass, and there is the boneless breast. We will do the same on the other side, again pulling the meat away from the breastbone and slicing wherever it sticks to the rest of the carcass. Be sure to keep the knife close to the bone as possible so that very little meat remains on the carcass. Here is the carcass with very little meat and our boneless breast which are ready to carve.
To carve the meat you will notice that the meat fibers run in one direction. To keep them tender we are going to cut across those meat fibers. It's very common in the old traditional way of carving off of the carcass that people would carve this way with the fibers that gives you a very tough, sort of shoelace string texture. Cutting across them is going to give you a nice tender cut. So take your knife, nice and smooth going across the grain and just make nice cuts through your turkey breast meat. Once you have done one breast you will be able to transfer it to your plate, your serving platter and work on the other breast as well. Keeping all of the pieces together into a single breast appearance will make it both easier to transport and also give you a nice appearance on the platter. We will do the same with the other breast.
This can be done at the table using a carving fork and a carving knife rather than your hand; I actually find it easier to use my hand. Even though it has been in the oven it has rested and so it's warm but it's not too hot to touch. We are going to remove the carcass from our presentation platter to provide some more space as we transfer this last lobe. I havent tossed the carcass just yet; it can be used to make stock if you wish by placing it in some water and allowing it to simmer. You could share it with your pets. Of course one of the more fun things to do is to remove the wishbone. The wishbone is here at the back of the breast. And its very easy to pull off once the meat has been removed. You can do that with a knife or by separating it with your fingers from the rest of the carcass. The wishbone of course is going to need several hours to dry, there we go, and this is a lot of fun to just take a nibble at in order to get it nice and clean and allow it to dry off. But a great fun dinner activity with the kids after you are done eating thanksgiving, there we go. So that is how you carve the breast meat. In our next segment, I am going to show you how to garnish the platter and make it beautiful.