Chef Terri's 10 steps to carving the perfect Thanksgiving turkey (with video)

The holidays can be stressful, but carving your delicious turkey shouldn't be! Whether you’re new to carving, or just want a refresher course, then you’ve come to the right place. Click play, read through the steps below, and you’ll be trained by Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s Chef Terri Hutter in no time.

Getting Started

When the timer finally goes off and your Turkey is ready to come out of the oven give it some time before you start carving. “It needs to sit for a good 30 minutes,” says Chef Terri. “Set it aside, put aluminum foil over the pan, and finish up your side dishes.”

Once your turkey has cooled from the oven “carve it in the kitchen instead of at the table,” says Chef Terri. There is less pressure without an audience of hungry friends and family.

But the biggest piece of advice Chef Terri had to offer is this: “If you get meat on a plate, that is all you need to do.”


  1. (0:01) Start by removing the legs. Split the skin that holds the leg to the bird. Then pull the leg down towards the table to expose the joint and simply cut through there. The big secret is that you want to get between the joints instead of trying to hack through solid bone.
  2. (0:14) Set the leg aside, turn the bird, and repeat step 1 on the second leg.
  3. (0:25) Next remove the wings. Slice between the wing and the breast, while pulling the wig back to expose the joint. Repeat.
  4. (0:41) Slice along the breastbone in the center of the bird, down to the bone. Then while pulling the meat away from the carcass, slide your knife down along the rib cage to remove an entire side of the breast in one piece. Repeat with the other half.
  5. (1:46) Slice the breast meat into serving pieces, and place it on your platter.
  6. (2:06) Stand the leg upright so the “knee joint” is resting on the cutting board. Slice down between the drumstick and thigh to separate at the joint.
  7. (2:13) Hold the drumstick vertically and slice down the bone to remove the meat. Rotate between slices.
  8. (2:27) To cut the thigh, trim off extra fat and skin. Flip the thigh skin-side down and slice along the both sides of the bone and under the bone to separate the meat. Then slice the meat into serving portions. Repeat steps 6-8 with the second leg.
  9. (4:02) Snap the very end of the wing off, it is typically very dry after cooking. Stand it vertically and cut between the “elbow joint.” You can serve as is, there is not enough meat to cut off the bone. Repeat on the second wing.
  10. (4:18) Serve and enjoy! If you are feeling adventurous, you can use the bones and extra parts to make soup, broth, or gravy!

We hope you’ve found this guide helpful. Just remember that as long as this doesn’t happen, you’ve done just fine!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Food Shuttle Team


Terri Hutter came to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle in 1999 from the renowned Washington Duke Inn in Durham, NC, where she was Executive Banquet Chef.  Chef Terri has successfully prepared over 250 unemployed or underemployed  graduates for careers in the food service industry.  Chef Terri has been recognized as a Tarheel of the Week by the Raleigh News and Observer, a Triangle Chefs Association Chef of the Year Award winner, and a Women’s Chefs and Restaurateurs Community Service Award winner. 


By Lindsay Humbert, IFFS Digital Media Spcialist. Contact: