Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Nov 16, 2006 02:38 PM

Turkey carved totally from the bone?

My ex-brother-in-law used to carve a turkey in a manner that I have never seen before. He had learned the technique from an elderly Filipino man, and it was the greatest presentation: the meat was carved totally from the bone, the breasts in large pieces, thighs, etc. and when finished you were able to reassemble it on the plate and it looked like a regular bird. But what you were left with was a practically-clean carcass and bones! It was amazing! Anyone know of a similar technique? Thanks in advance for any leads!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. it's pretty easy to remove major muscle groups from a carcass (no matter what kind of carcass), and meat is just muscles. Once you understand where the muscles attach to the bones (origins and insertions, for you scientific types), it's pretty easy to cut those attachment points and the whole muscle group can be separated from the bones fairly easily. Knowing how a particular muscle works is also helpful.

    To separate the breast meat, for example, you need to know that it is attached along the ridge of the breastbone (keelbone) on one side and at the wing joint on the other. Carefully cut alongside the ridge of the keelbone to where the breastbone flattens, then carefully lift it as if you were opening a door, pivoting on the wing (shoulder) joint. Then trim the connecting tendons and you've removed half the breast.

    Thighs and drums are even easier...just move the leg pieces in their sockets to locate the sockets, then take a fairly small, very sharp knife (I sometimes use a paring knife) to cut the ligaments that hold the joints together. Once you've severed the ligaments, all you need to do is cut the skin and the piece should detach easily.

    If you want to practice, pick up a couple of rotisserie chickens from your local grocery. It may seem daunting, but it's quite simple.

    From my personal experience, I was studying anatomy in school around the same time I was cutting chickens in a restaurant kitchen, and each enhanced the was like going to anatomy lab every night!

    1. Also, if you cook the bird for a long time at a low temp, you melt more of the collagen/connective tissue and the meat separates from the bones easier.