Carving chicken and turkey:
Remove the legs cut the skin betwwen the leg and breast
Turn the bird over and cut aroungd the "oyster" at the base of the leg joint sothat it remains attached to the thif=gh but is loosened from the carcase.
Spear the leg with a carving fork and twist it outwards breaking the leg joint
Finishing cutting away the leg and pull away from the carcase
Halve the leg by cutting the knee joint using the line of fat as a guide.
Cut the breast in slices parallel to th carcase or remove the breaset whole and cut into two portions
Resting gives the natural juices of the bird time to settle back into the meat. Cut into a bird right out of the oven and you end up with all the juices draining onto the carving board. Give it 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove that bone. The third prerequisite? Before even putting the bird in the oven, remove the wishbone. This allows for clean, trouble-free slicing of the breast meat. Here's how you do it:
1. Rinse the chicken and dry with paper towels.
2. Stand the chicken on end, with the wings facing up.
3. Peel back the skin a bit to expose the neck stub, the cavity, and the shoulders of the wings. The wishbone attaches to both wings and to the collarbone.
4. Expose the wishbone with the tip of your paring knife, by either cutting or scraping, then snap it free and set it aside.
Divide and Conquer
You'll be using a long-tined fork in one hand, and your carving knife in the other. The fork is often used more for steadying than poking, by pressing the back of the fork against the bird or its parts rather than jabbing in the tines. Here's the basic process. Working on one side of the bird at a time, you will:* remove the leg and thigh, then separate the two at the joint;
* remove the wing;
* slice the breast meat.
Easy as pie.
Removing the Leg and Thigh
First of all, you'll want your bird (let's say turkey) breast-side-up on the carving board. Press the backs of the fork tines against one side of the turkey while cutting through the skin of the thigh/leg close to the body of the bird. You want to avoid poking the bird, which will release juices. Press the thigh outward until you locate the hip joint. Slicing through that will release the entire leg. Separate thigh from drumstick.
Pin the turkey drumstick with the tines of your fork and cut parallel to and close to the bone, rotating the drumstick twice. You should get about three thick slices of meat and skin. It will be easier to stabilize the thigh by pressing down on it with the back of your fork tines. Slice through the meat and skin of the thigh, parallel to the bone. (For chicken, simply separate the thigh and the drumstick, serving either portion whole.)
Next, the Wing
Next, cut down through the breast where the wing joins the bird's body. You'll probably want to steady the turkey by poking the tines of your fork into the opposite breast. Wiggle the wing back and forth to find the joint, then cut down through the joint to remove the wing.
I'll Have Breast, Please
Method 1: Slicing from the bird
There are two basic approaches to carving turkey breast meat, one a much more theatrical display than the other. If you are standing at the head of the table with all eyes upon you, by all means simply start slicing from the outside in, toward the body of the bird. The closer you get to the actual skeletal structure, the more you'll have to use the flexibility of your slicing knife, bending with the natural curve of the body. If you have removed the wishbone ahead of time, you'll be able to slice meat without banging into that annoying bone.
A good turkey carver in his or her prime should be able to separate a bird at the head of the table, take meat orders, slice and load warmed plates stacked to one side, get nary a splotch on the tablecloth, and make it all look effortless. A good trick worth mastering.
Method 2: The "whole breast"
Alternatively, slice down one side of the breast bone, and working the blade of your carving knife against the carcass, remove the entire breast in one piece, skin and all. Then simply slice the breast into servings. Efficient, but not glamorous.
For chicken, try removing the entire breast of a small roasting chicken with the wing attached, and present that on a plate. Your guests will cluck.