I have to admit, it’s happened to me before. The table is set, the guests are working on their second or third glass of chardonnay when the Thanksgiving turkey is brought out amongst vivid oohs and ahhs. And instead of carving as if I knew what I was doing, I’m hacking away at a dry bird I’ve spent too long preparing with a dull steak knife and hard-to-grip dinner fork. After that first time, I vowed I would never repeat such a performance, and set about looking for a shopping guide for appropriate carving tools. In my experience, I’ve learned there are four essential tools for a proper turkey carving.
Every store-bought turkey, and even some farm procured birds, come with a plastic thermometer jabbed into the haunches. My advice is to do away with the notion that this is the only one needed. To properly carve a turkey, it needs to be in top condition, and to have it so, a proper meat thermometer is needed to read the inside temperature. I personally use a NorPro thermometer, as it has larger writing so I can easily see what’s happening inside the bird through the oven window. A turkey should come out of the oven with a core temp of 165 degrees (Fahrenheit). This ensures all bacteria are done away with, and the bird is still juicy to enjoy. Other’s will argue for 180 degrees, but I’d like to see their birds come out as moist as mine.
Thanksgiving Carving Platter
A platter needs to not only be large enough to handle a proper Thanksgiving turkey, but small enough to be manageable in moving the bird to the table. The bigger the platter, the more difficult the grip, and if I’m not careful, the dog will be eating my feast. A well-designed platter will also have raised edges to collect any juices that may be released when carving. I received a Tiffany’s porcelain tray a few years back, and have used it for several meals. It works well with our turkey each year, as well as any hams and roasts when a more formal tray is required.
A Proper Thanksgiving Turkey Carving Knife And Fork
Those of you who have read my past stories know that I am a serious thrift-store shopper, but for kitchen tools this important, I prefer to use the top of the line when I can. I’ve owned my carving set for going on five years now, and should something ever happen to them, I would search high and low until I could find another set just like it. I use the Henckels Pro Series Pure Two Piece Carving Set, and those run about $129. The handles on both the knife and fork are well-proportioned and fit my over-sized paws comfortably. The last thing I want is to be fumbling with my grip while slicing at a turkey’s breast meat. Henckels products are made from fine-edge, laser refined stainless steel, and the knives have full tangs, meaning the blades run fully through the handle. And the best reason of all? These German-made tools come with a life time warranty.
I wouldn’t put a low-quality turkey on the table at Thanksgiving, and in my experience, I wouldn’t attempt to carve a turkey without the proper tools. Should the event arise my carving set is out of action, I’d leave the bird as it was for sandwiches and treat the whole dinner party to take-out Chinese.