How to Carve a Smoked Turkey: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Carving a smoked turkey can be intimidating especially if you’ve never done it before. But fear not my fellow turkey enthusiasts! This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process step-by-step, making you a carving pro in no time.

What you’ll need:

  • A sharp carving knife: A good carving knife is essential for making clean, even slices. We recommend the Smoke Kitchen 12″ Slicing Knife, which is super sharp, well-balanced, and versatile.
  • Cutting board: Choose a large cutting board or butcher block with a juice groove to catch those delicious drippings.
  • Kitchen towel/paper: Carving can get messy, so have some towels or paper on hand to clean up.
  • Serving platter: Transfer your sliced turkey to a warmed platter for a beautiful presentation.
  • Carving fork/spatula/tongs: These are optional, but they can help you stabilize the turkey and transfer the slices.

How to carve a smoked turkey:

1. Set up your carving station:

  • Find a stable, clutter-free surface with plenty of elbow room.
  • Leave the turkey to rest until just before serving to ensure it stays warm and juicy.
  • Have a warmed serving platter ready to transfer the sliced meat.

2. Removing the turkey legs:

  • Place the turkey on the cutting board with the cavity facing you.
  • Cut through the skin between the breast and the leg.
  • Expose the joint connecting the legs to the body and cut through it, detaching the leg.
  • Repeat for the other leg.

3. Removing the breast meat:

  • Run your knife along the keel bone, separating the breast meat from the ribcage.
  • Slice through the breast meat, feeling your way around the ribs.
  • Cut through any attached skin and place the breast to one side.
  • Repeat for the other side.

4. Removing the turkey wings:

  • With the breast meat removed, locate the joint connecting the wing to the body.
  • Slice through the joint and any skin, removing the wing.
  • Repeat for the other wing.

5. Slice up the breast meat:

  • Slice the breast meat across the grain into even, thick slices (around a quarter inch).
  • Try to keep the skin intact on each slice.
  • Transfer the sliced breast to the warmed platter.

6. How to slice leg meat (optional):

  • Separate the drumstick from the thigh by locating the joint and slicing through it.
  • Slice the drumstick meat off in downward slices.
  • Debone the thigh and slice the meat down each side of the bone.
  • Transfer the sliced leg meat to the platter.

7. Preparing the wings:

  • Cut the wing at the second joint, removing the tips.
  • Place the first two meaty wing sections on the serving platter.
  • Save the tips for making stock.

Turkey presentation:

  • Arrange the sliced turkey meat on your best serving platter.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs or fruit for added color and flavor.

Turkey carving tips:

  • Rest your turkey for 30-45 minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute.
  • You can carve your turkey cold, but be careful not to overcook it when reheating.
  • Don’t worry if your carving isn’t perfect – the taste is what matters most!

Enjoy your perfectly carved smoked turkey!

With this guide, you’ll be able to carve your smoked turkey like a pro, impressing your family and friends with your culinary skills. And remember, the most important thing is to enjoy the deliciousness of your smoked turkey!

Bonus tips:

  • Use a carving fork to hold the turkey steady while you slice.
  • Wet your knife blade occasionally to help it glide through the meat more easily.
  • If you’re serving a large crowd, consider carving the turkey in advance and storing the slices in a warm oven until ready to serve.

Happy carving!

How To Carve a Smoked Turkey


How long should a smoked turkey sit before carving?

First, allow your cooked turkey to sit for about 20 minutes before starting to carve. Beginning halfway up the breast, slice straight down with an even stroke. When the knife reaches the cut above the wing joint, the slice should fall free on its own.

How do you carve a whole roasted turkey?

To carve a whole roasted or spatchcocked turkey, you’ll remove the legs and wings and then cut the thigh and breast meat into slices. This is easily done with an electric knife, or you can use a large, sharp knife, such as a butcher knife. To cut off the drumstick for serving, cut into the turkey’s side along the breast where the leg is attached.

What can you do with a turkey carving board?

Use it to crush spices, or on candies for decorating cakes and cookies. The ultimate turkey-carving station: A recessed well keeps the bird in place, deep grooves catch precious juices, and a pouring spout makes it a snap to return drippings to the pan for gravy making. Use the flat side of the board for everyday chopping.

How do you cut a cooked turkey breast in a crock pot?

First, allow your cooked turkey to sit for about 20 minutes before starting to carve. Beginning halfway up the breast, slice straight down with an even stroke. When the knife reaches the cut above the wing joint, the slice should fall free on its own. Continue to slice breast meat by starting the cut at a higher point each time. Did You Know?

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