Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Removing the wishbone from your turkey before roasting: how and why

I've been removing the wishbone from my turkey, before roasting, since I learned of this simple trick by working with a caterer years ago.  The biggest reason why is that it facilitates the easy removal of each whole lobe from the bone following cooking, allowing even and precise slicing for service. It also frees up more room, at the front, for stuffing, if you stuff your bird, which is why I do it first.  Sure, you can remove the wishbone after the turkey (or chicken) is roasted too, and in fact it should pull out easily once the bird has cooled down enough to handle. 
There are a couple of youtube videos showing how to cut the wishbone out, but I found these pictures that illustrate exactly how I do it.
Pull the skin back from the front side of the breast, revealing the wishbone close to the surface:

With the tip of a sharp knife gently cut along both sides of the two prongs of the wishbone:

Work the knife (or finger) around, under and along the length of the bone separating it from the meat:

Separate the remaining three points of attachment and lift the wishbone out.  At this point you should be able to simply pull it out:

Pull the skin back down, or this is a great time to add fresh herbs on top of the meat, between the skin, or use the extra room to add more stuffing.  I use a couple of toothpicks to secure the skin over and under the bird.

I found these pictures and direction on this website.

I also found this video about how to carve a turkey that is closest to how I do it (with the exception of removing the wishbone before roasting!)

I thought Thanksgiving was next week, so I've got a couple of frozen birds defrosting in the fridge already!  It's going to be all fine because I decided to cook for my family on Sunday, the 24th.  It's the first time I've cooked dinner before the actual holiday.  Mark and I are leaving for Israel on the 3rd of December and I though it would be better for us to free up the weekend before to get ready.  

Have you ever cooked Thanksgiving dinner before the holiday?  Or, do you remove your wishbone before you roast your bird (s)?  Any other tips you want to share?  

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