Cutting Up A Turkey

There are many ways to enjoy turkey other than roasting the whole bird. Many people have discovered quick, easy, and delicious meals can be prepared from turkey pieces and parts such as turkey boneless breasts, breast steaks or cutlets, drumsticks, thighs, and wings. These can be prepared in countless ways, some of which are suggested in our recipe section.

The least expensive way to enjoy turkey pieces and parts is to cut the whole turkey up yourself. It is surprisingly easy.

CUTTING UP A WHOLE TURKEY
 The turkey should be very cold and slightly stiff for easier cutting. Use a sharp knife. Lay the turkey on its back on a cutting board. Remove the giblets, neck, and leg clamp. The leg clamp can be removed by lifting the legs from the clamp one at a time, then squeezing the clamp to release it from the backbone. Pull the tail out of the body cavity and cut it off.

CUTTING OFF THE WINGS
Roll the turkey on its side and pull the wing away from the body. Cut into the hollow between the breast and wing. Continue pulling the wing away from the body. Cut around the wing joint. Bend the wing back, exposing the joint, and cut through it. Repeat for the other wing.

CUTTING THE WING INTO SEGMENTS
Separate the wing into three parts by slicing the skin around each joint, bending it back, and cutting through it.

TURKEY LEGS
 Turkey legs may be left as the whole drumstick-thigh for roasting, cut into drumstick and thigh pieces, or the thigh may be boned out for boneless meat.

 

 

REMOVING THE DRUMSTICK AND THIGH
 Cut through the skin between the breast and thigh, down to the joint connecting the thigh to the back. Push on the leg to open this joint, then cut through it. Repeat for the other leg.

CUTTING THE DRUMSTICK FROM THE THIGH
Locate the small indentation near the natural fat line between the drumstick and the thigh. This is the joint. Bend the drumstick back gently while cutting through the joint.

BONING THE THIGH
 Place the thigh skin-side down. Cut down to the bone, then along the full length of the bone. Slip the knife under the bone halfway down its length, and cut the meat away from the rest of the bone on one end. Turn the thigh around and cut the other end free while lifting the other end.

 

TURKEY BREAST
 Turkey breasts can be roasted whole, with the bone still in. It can be also be boned out for roasting or grilling, or it can be cut into turkey steaks or cutlets.

 

 

BONING THE BREAST
 Starting at the neck cavity, cut along the top edge of the breast bone. Cut down the edge of the wishbone and keelbone, peeling the breast away from the bones as you cut and leaving as little meat on the bones as possible. Remove the half-breast and repeat for the other side.

 

TURKEY FILLET
 The long cylindrical muscle lying next to the keelbone is called the tenderloin or fillet. It can be easily separated and used for many recipes, including grilling.

CUTTING STEAKS/CUTLETS FROM THE BREAST
Cut steaks by slicing the half breast across the grain into 1/2 to 1 inch thick slices. Cutlets are thinner slices.

 

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