Plate Your Turkey Like a Pro

Your turkey should look as good as it tastes, even when it's all carved up.

Kaylee Hammonds
Thanksgiving Turkey
Iain Bagwell

In November 1966 we celebrated our first Thanksgiving with a foil-baked turkey. Yes, a foil-baked turkey. And it was absolutely delicious. This year, 50 years later, our Test Kitchen cooked up two of the most mouthwatering turkey recipes ever. We have a traditional seasoning and one with a little more of a flavorful kick. For example, try our sweet-and-spicy dry rub or our aromatic herb butter. And once your bird is cooked to a crispy golden brown, make sure you know how to carve it like a pro.

WATCH: How To Carve and Slice a Turkey

Once you've sliced your meat, follow these pointers for making sure that your well-cooked bird is looking its best when placed on the table for all to see. Okay, so that sounds easier than it is, right? Not quite. Follow our plating pointers:

1. Pick the Right Size Platter
This sounds basic but lots of people pick dishes that just can't hold a lot of meat. And piles of meat are never attractive. Choose a “turkey platter,” which is at least 16 inches and can accommodate the bird and garnishes. Use your other pretty platters, plates, and dishes for the soups, sides, and salads.

2. Tackle the Legs and Thighs
Using an electric knife, separate the legs from the thighs and remove from turkey. Arrange in the middle of the platter.

3. Slice the Breast Meat
Remove the breasts, and slice the meat on the bias. (Try not to tear the skin.) Then, fan out the slices on either side of the dark meat.

4. Garnish the Meat
Surround the meat with pretty, edible trimmings: fresh herbs, nuts, whole or sliced produce like pears, citrus, or grap.

5. Finish with Gravy
Brush the turkey skin with a little gravy for a touch of shine.