The Modern Chef: Turkey Tips From Boston Market Master Carver Everton Ricketts
Carving the turkey is a tradition as old as Thanksgiving, but for many hosts, the centerpiece bird may as well be a Rubik’s Cube. Where to make the first move—and what comes after that?
More and more hosts are forgoing the intimidating task of cooking the bird, but carving the turkey still requires culinary finesse. After all, a beautifully served turkey can mean the difference between an unfiltered Instagram post or strategically poured gravy, working overtime to cover the jagged cuts.
Luckily, carving a turkey is an easy process—as long as you follow the right steps. Want to wow guests with your mad carving skills this holiday? Not to worry: Boston Market master carver Everton Ricketts is here to help. When he’s not showing off his chops as a master carver at Boston Market, Everton also works as an actor and model—so you know he’s focused on making that turkey look good.
Everton’s biggest tip?
Get your station ready first! You want to make sure you have all the right tools: a good sturdy carving fork, tongs and a knife. Your knife needs to be super sharp—that’s the most important thing. If your knife isn’t sharp, you’re going to be sawing instead of carving and you’ll have a hard time getting that beautiful appearance.
Everton’s Tips for Turkey Success:
You don’t want to carve the turkey while it’s whole: You want to cut the turkey into sections and then carve those sections individually. That will make it easier for you and also make sure you get that beautiful Thanksgiving look.
Step 1: Prep your station with all the necessary equipment, including cutting board, carving fork, knife and tongs.
Step 2: After removing your turkey from the oven, cover in foil to let it rest for 30 to 40 minutes.
Step 3: Remove the legs from the turkey, by carefully slicing the skin between the legs and body.
Step 4: Gently pull the legs away from the turkey’s body until the joints pop.
Step 5: Find the center of the leg and separate the turkey’s thigh and the drumstick. Cut the thigh meat, following the bone on each side. Remove the meat and slice.
Step 6: Locate the center breastbone, along the top of the turkey, and carve downward. Then slice horizontally toward the center.
Step 7: Remove the wings, using the same technique used for removing the legs. Pull them away from the body until you can see the joint, then gently carve through the joint to remove the wings.
Step 8: Carve the meat away from the wishbone, remove it, and clean off the excess meat. A lot of families have traditions around breaking the wishbone to bring good luck.
Step 9: You’re a carver! Now arrange your turkey to impress your guests—and listen to the compliments come in. Happy Thanksgiving!
Dress Up Your Prepared Food
A new survey from Boston Market found that nearly half (48 percent) of Thanksgiving hosts will use some to all prepared foods—and 33 percent of those would even quietly take credit for those prepared foods if guests like them.
Even if you use prepared foods, you can still make them your own. Boston Market has some tips and tricks to dress up prepared foods and give them your own style, including a cheesy mashed potato casserole and easy cornbread pudding.
What’s your favorite part of your Thanksgiving meal?