Here’s the Secret for an Expertly Carved Thanksgiving Turkey

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The juicy slice of turkey you've been dreaming of is easier than you think.

A perfectly cooked Thanksgiving turkey can lose all its glamour when it’s hacked to pieces instead of expertly sliced. But it doesn’t take special training or years of practice to carve a turkey. The only thing you really need is a sharp knife.

Why Do I Need Sharp Knives?

The most important reason to have a sharp knife is to keep you safe. Dull blades can slip off of soft surfaces, which can result in nicking your hand, or worse. Especially when it comes to spherical items like onions, a dull blade can be especially hard to use. In fact, having a dull knife is on our list of major knife mistakes. A sharp knife’s blade will slice into the surface immediately; it won’t slide away and you are in complete control.

Another reason that sharp blades are best is their ability to keep all of the flavor inside the turkey. A dull blade will compress the turkey as it slices, which squeezes out the natural juices that hold flavor and keep the turkey moist. The duller the blade, the more flavor will get pushed out and left behind on the carving board. A freshly sharpened knife will require hardly any pressure to cut so all that juicy goodness stays inside the turkey and makes it to the plate.

Let our Test Kitchen show you how to carve a Thanksgiving turkey like a pro.

Our Test Kitchen’s Favorite Sharpener

Chef’sChoice 15 Trizor XV EdgeSelect Professional Electric Knife Sharpenervia

Our Test Kitchen’s all-time favorite knife sharpener is the Chef’sChoice professional sharpener ($150). It’s worth the investment because it can sharpen every knife in your collection. There are three different sharpening wells that hone the blade to different sharpness settings. A “rougher” sharpen would work well to cut fibrous items like a pumpkin, while “precision” sharpness would slice more delicate items.

The third sharpening well on the Chef’sChoice knife sharpener can also sharpen serrated blades. You’ll never need to worry about deflating that loaf of bread as you slice through it for Thanksgiving leftovers sandwiches!

In other words, this sharpener will make quick work of sharpening your carving knife. In about 10 seconds, you’ll be ready to carve the turkey like a pro. Find all the Test Kitchen’s notes on the Chef’sChoice sharpener here.

Find a Gorgeous Thanksgiving Turkey to Carve
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Mandy Naglich
Mandy is a food and beverage writer with bylines at WNYC, Munchies, Mic and October. She's a Certified Cicerone and award-winning homebrewer living, writing and cooking in New York City.