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Pros' Turkey-Carving Tips: So You Don't Have to Wing It

Thanksgiving is almost here and, along with the family, joy and eating, comes pressure: How to carve the turkey.

At the table or in the kitchen? Slicer or electric knife? We asked three of America's top chefs to share their tips for selecting a knife and slicing like a pro.

Todd Humphries is the chef and co-owner of Martini House in Napa Valley. Humphries will close Martini House for Thanksgiving and enjoy the holiday at home with his family.

He plans to brine his turkey with salt, sugar, rosemary, thyme, allspice, cloves and bay leaves. Then, he'll roast the bird on a Weber grill over mesquite hard charcoal to add flavor.

Unlike his father, who used a double-bladed electric knife, Humphries chooses a Henkel slicer, the same one he's been using for 20 years.

"It's a nice long, thin knife," he says. "I also use it for smoked or cured salmon. It's my all-purpose slicer."

Humphries advises: "Make sure your knife is sharp. If you're not sure what to do, pick up a book that will give you tips on how to take the breast off and slice it. In fact, I'm looking at YouTube right now, and there's Turkey Carving 101."

And if you don't have a sharp knife? Humphries says, "In most cities, there's a place to take your knife to get it professionally sharpened." Some things are best left to the pros.

Mark Dommen, chef/partner at San Francisco's One Market, will be spending Thanksgiving at the restaurant. He's preparing enough Sebastopol-raised Willie Bird Turkeys to satisfy the 700 diners he expects this year.
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