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How To Carve A Thanksgiving Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

If you are like most people, you will be cooking, or perhaps purchasing an already cooked, turkey to serve your family and friends for that all important Thanksgiving Day Dinner. Yes, the one day when everyone sits around waiting for that magic moment when the Turkey is carved and served.

If that responsibility is yours, then you certainly want to do it right, especially if you have spent the better part of the day cooking that beautiful bird on your Big Green Egg.

You have dedicated hours to selecting, thawing, prepping, and cooking the turkey, and it is absolutely beautiful finally sitting there on the table surrounded by stuffing and decorations that makes your table look like something right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. You almost hate to cut it into pieces it's so beautiful, but cut it you must.

So, now what do you do?

Well, you certainly don't want to have everyone gasping at your turkey carving incompetence again like last year, do you? No... you want the carving to show this wonderful turkey in its best light and not as some gruesome hacking up of a formerly proud bird.

Instead, you let everyone take their photos of the table and, of course, you standing there with the traditional turkey carving knife and fork.

Then you take a moment to thank everyone for coming, and to give thanks for this wonderful occasion.

Then you gracefully remove the entire turkey, platter and all, to the kitchen where you will transfer the turkey to a nice large cutting board, preferably wood, where you commence with the carving using a well-sharpened knife, using a well-rehearsed sequence that not only results in beautiful and appetizing pieces of meat that can be laid out on the platter, but will make serving a delight to everyone.

This is when you are glad you watched Alton Brown carve a turkey the right way. Like he does here:


Or if you prefer a different method, try this one:


Now isn't that a lot better than how you did it last year?

Happy Thanksgiving.

Spring "Beautifully Carved" Chicken
Spring Texas USA


  • SGH
    SGH Posts: 28,786
    I just rip mine apart like a animal with my bare hands ;)
    Actually my wife carves the bird, for reason mentioned above.
    Great videos my friend. Thanks for sharing.

    Location- Just "this side" of Biloxi, Ms.

    Status- Standing by.

    The greatest barrier against all wisdom, the stronghold against knowledge itself, is the single thought, in ones mind, that they already have it all figured out. 

  • Thanks for posting. I've never been good at this. I guess cause I was doing it wrong. :D
  • Thanks for sharing--my family laughed at me for watching a video on how to carve turkey.  Let them laugh--the food will be good and now well sliced.
  • shtgunal3
    shtgunal3 Posts: 5,483
    Thanks for the videos Mr. Chicken. I like the Alton Brown video best although I don't agree with his choice of mayo. ;)



     LBGE,SBGE, and a Mini makes three......Sweet home Alabama........ Stay thirsty my friends .

  • tazcrash
    tazcrash Posts: 1,852
    Agreed, only this year did I find out I've been carving the breast the wrong way. 
    Bx - > NJ ->TX!!! 
    All to get cheaper brisket! 
  • Zmokin
    Zmokin Posts: 1,938
    Well, I've known how to remove the appendages and to debone the thigh.
    But I've always used an electric knife to make slices of breast meat as I peel them off the carcass, which of course had me cutting along the grain, not across the grain.  Now, I am not a fan of white meat, but I guess this year, I'll follow the advice of the videos, and remove the breast and then slice across the grain, giving everyone a little bit of skin.

    Thanks for posting the videos.
    Large BGE in a Sole' Gourmet Table
    Using the Black Cast Iron grill, Plate Setter,
     and a BBQ Guru temp controller.

    Medium BGE in custom modified off-road nest.
    Black Cast Iron grill, Plate Setter, and a Party-Q temp controller.

    Location: somewhere West of the Mason-Dixon Line
  • Ragtop99
    Ragtop99 Posts: 1,570
    I normally remove the thighs and drumsticks first, which made the turkey unstable when removing the breast. I'm going to try removing the breast first after watching this.
    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
  • JRWhitee
    JRWhitee Posts: 5,678
    Thanks for sharing @springchicken
    Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story!
    Large BGE 2006, Mini Max 2014, 36" Blackstone, Anova Sous Vide
    Green Man Group 
    Johns Creek, Georgia
  • stemc33
    stemc33 Posts: 3,567
    Nice. I'm betting I still screw it up. I have been getting better at carving spatchcock chickens though. So, maybe.
    Mini Max with Woo stone combo, LBGE, iGrill 2, Plate Setter, 
    two cotton pot holders to handle PS
    Banner, Wyoming
  • dihtn
    dihtn Posts: 234

    Holy cow!  If I do this, my family will wonder who abducted me!

    Thanks for posting.

  • UncleFred
    UncleFred Posts: 458
    edited November 2014

    San Diego, CA - Where I've mastered Curmudgeon..working on Recluse.
  • Foghorn
    Foghorn Posts: 9,671

    XXL BGE, Karebecue, Klose BYC, Chargiller Akorn Kamado, Weber Smokey Mountain, Grand Turbo gasser, Weber Smoky Joe, and the wheelbarrow that my grandfather used to cook steaks from his cattle

    San Antonio, TX

  • Foghorn
    Foghorn Posts: 9,671

    XXL BGE, Karebecue, Klose BYC, Chargiller Akorn Kamado, Weber Smokey Mountain, Grand Turbo gasser, Weber Smoky Joe, and the wheelbarrow that my grandfather used to cook steaks from his cattle

    San Antonio, TX

  • lousubcap
    lousubcap Posts: 31,180
    Saves me the annul one-off search for the Alton Brown video.  Thanks for the bump. 
    Louisville; Rolling smoke in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer!  Seems I'm livin in a transitional period.
  • Botch
    Botch Posts: 15,114
    Yet another pair of perfectly-bisected oysters.   :|  

    "Not really interested in a sequel; don't want to chew my tobacco but once"

         - Dolly Parton

  • dmourati
    dmourati Posts: 1,254
    The second video was mostly good but the cutting technique demonstrated with the finger on the spine of the knife gives me the chills. No, just no.
    Mountain View, CA