Even expert carvers need a properly cooked turkey to do their best--overcooked turkey meat crumbles when it’s sliced. And remember to let the bird stand at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes after removing it from the oven so that the juices set and the meat firms.

* Use a chef’s knife to remove the legs, then switch to a very sharp carving knife for slicing the breast meat--the sharper the blade, the more attractive the slices. A serrated knife should not be used because it tends to tear the meat.

* To remove the drumstick and thigh, pull the leg away from the body. The joint connecting the leg to the backbone will often snap free, but if it doesn’t, it may be severed with the point of a knife.

* Cut the leg from the body by following the contour carefully with the knife. Place on another plate, then cut through the connecting joint between the drumstick and the thigh.


* Tilt the drumstick at a convenient angle and slice the meat away in a downward motion toward the plate. Hold the thigh firmly on the plate with the fork and cut it into even slices parallel to the bone.

* Wings are typically left in place to keep the bird stable while the breast meat is carved in downward slices, across the grain. Begin each new slice slightly higher up on the breast, keeping the slices thin and even.

* Inexperienced carvers may find it easier to tackle the bird in the kitchen rather than at the dining table. The sliced meat may then be arranged on a platter for serving.

* After the feast and back in the kitchen, a boning knife can be used to remove the rest of the meat from the carcass. Package everything well and refrigerate or freeze for later use.