Breaking Down a Turkey
Get step-by-step instructions on how to break down a 20-pound turkey so it cooks in 90 minutes, instead of 5 hours!
Step 1: Every turkey comes with gizzards and the neck stuffed into the cavity. Remove the pouch containing the gizzards and neck from the cavity.
Step 2: Remove the legs: Make an incision in the skin at the hip where the leg attaches to the body so it's open. Repeat on the other side.
Step 3: Separate the bone away from the backbone: Push the leg back to dislocate it out of the hip. Then run your knife down and around through the exposed part of the thigh and the backbone. Repeat on the other side.
Step 4: Separate the legs from the thighs: On the flesh side of the leg/thigh (not the skin side), there's a fat line. Cut along that line to separate the leg and thigh, through the joint. Repeat with the other leg.
Step 5: Remove the backbone: With the bird turned breast side down on the cutting board, find the space between the wing and the spine, and cut down with your knife through the ribcage. Repeat with the other side of the backbone. Keep cutting down until you can take hold of the backbone with your hand and pull it down and away from the bird.
Step 6: Separate the breasts: Using a towel to prevent possible nicks and cuts, place your knive on the center of the breastbone at the top and split it through (you'll need to use some muscle!). After you've made an initial break, push two breasts away from each other so now have essentially two halves. With your knife, cut straight down so that each half is separated.
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