How to debone a Turkey

For Thanksgiving last November , I partially de-boned our turkey so it would cook faster and fit in the oven. I took pictures of me doing it to try to make a more understandable tutorial. Of course I didn’t actually blog about it then while it was fresh in my mind. Therefore I will try to do now….

tools of the slaughter

First lets begin with prep we need to get to the slaughter. You will need a 10-15lb thawed turkey(this method can be used on any fowl pretty much, but sparrows require a smaller knife). Rinse well inside and out with cold water, make sure to remove and giblets etc and set aside. Pat dry with paper towel and gaze at it wondering how will you attack such a beast. Best to have some type of filet or boning knife, these are thin blades with some flexibility, makes it easier to move around bones and joints. A larger chef knife will come in handy as well. A clean cutting board large enough to work on. If you have a cutting board that has rubber feet that’s great most of us don’t. take a kitchen towel and get it damp. wring out well and place flat under cutting board to prevent board from slipping.


remove the wings at the shoulder joint


Rinse the bird with cool water and pat dry with paper towel. Set the turkey on its side with the neck/wing area facing you. Grasp the wing firmly and using the boning knife cut into to the shoulder joint. cut through and around following the natural contours of the joint so you are cutting through tendon and cartilage and not bones. You can twist the wing firmly downwards putting pressure on the joint so as to dislocate before cutting. One wing is removed move to the other side and repeat. Set wings aside.



remove legs from the turkey at the hip joint.


Once the wings are removed. Turn turkey over and have the bottom of the turkey facing you. Grasp on leg and pull it down and out towards the board. Using the knife slice leg close to the body and hip joint. Work all the way around the leg, set down knife and with 2 hands wrench the leg out of the socket. Use your knife to finish removing the leg from the turkey. repeat on second leg.





Remove the breast in 2 halves





The turkey breast has a thin bone ridge running down the center topped by cartilage. Run you finger along this ridge to find the place where each breast lobe of the turkey meets it. Working on  one side at a time. Run you knife along the ridge. Continue cutting and using your other hand to pull the breast to the side while cutting  until whole breast has been removed. Repeat on the other side. I had 2 one gallon zip lock bags that I placed one wing, leg and breast in. To marinate for the following day of cooking.







the breast removed

remove the thigh bone from the turkey leg.




For this type of preparation I like to remove the thigh bone for ease of slicing and serving at meal time. To remove place the leg skin side down.Using your fingers feel where the bone is. Carefully use your fingers to guide your knife on each side of the bone. Once you have cut along the length of both side, carefully cut along the underside of the bone. The last step is to dislocate the joint and then cut through it. Repeat on second leg.





marinate the turkey



I marinate the  Turkey breast, wings and legs in fresh lemon, garlic, herbs and olive oil. Save the bones to roast to make stock for gravy.






Place carcass and onions, carrots and celery in a roasting pan and place in 300 degree oven for 1 -1 1.2 hrs. Remove and place all items in large stock pot and cover with water. Allow to simmer over medium heat for 2-3 hrs.  cool and strain out vegetables and bones. Use stock for gravy, stuffing and other dishes. Can also be frozen and used for soups and stews later.



This year I am doing the same style but will be cooking the turkey on the grill.

About queenofone

I was in the food biz for over 20 years and still love food more than ever. I knit, create, write, mother, date, live and get angry. All I share here and hopefully with some kick ass pics to boot.
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