Talking turkey: GWCCA executive chef dishes expert carving tips

Nov. 18, 2019

Nothing screams Thanksgiving like a succulent, well-presented turkey on the dinner table. 

You have labored, read all the cooking blogs, stayed up late nights shopping at grocery stores and cooked all day just to get to this point. You finally made it!

It is time for you and your guests to reach for your phones and take those incredible photos.  After you have conquered your feat of cooking this delicious bird, you now have to enjoy it.

Carving your turkey can be intimidating for some and enjoyable for others.  The right tools are a necessity.  There are many knives and gadgets available.  Picking the right one can be confusing.

Here are some tips:

Start with a sharp slicer knife.  These knives are long and do not have a heel such as a traditional chef’s knife.  Make sure your edge is not serrated, a serrated knife or bread knife will cause you to shred through your turkey meat and not give you clean slices. 

Electric carving knives are also an option but not a necessity.  A carving fork is also needed to help you slice, or tongs can also be used.

After all your photos have been taken, I suggest moving your turkey away from the dinner table and head back to your kitchen.  This will give you more room and allow for a better work area.  Have a clean serving platter to place your sliced turkey on.  Gloves are also ideal – this will make you more comfortable when handling carving duties.

A well-sliced turkey should remain warm but not piping hot.  If you start at a high temperature your slicing will be shredded.  I suggest letting your bird rest for a full 30 minutes before carving.

Begin by slicing in an even motion for the breast meat.  If you have a large crowd to feed, then I suggest completely slicing your entire bird.  If you have a small gathering, then stick to just half of your turkey.

After breast meat, continue to the wings and drumsticks.  Remove wings from breast as well.  These darker, more succulent parts will not be as pretty as your breast meat but pack a powerful punch.  I would arrange all meats in sections on your serving platter.  This will allow guests to pick and choose what they prefer. 

Don’t forget to save your pan juices.  This makes for nice added moisture that you can drizzle over your turkey. 

Lastly, have a wonderful and thankful holiday!

Chef Billy Velasquez
Posted by
Billy Velasquez / Executive Chef
on Nov. 18, 2019
Billy has cooked up delicious delights at the Georgia World Congress Center since 2013, and recently took over as Executive Chef. A veteran of the United Sates Marines, he’s passionate about responsible cooking and building a winning team. His service mantra is: "Flawless Execution."

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