The Important Turkey Roasting Step You Shouldn't Forget, According To Alton Brown

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day of love and gratitude, but if you're on kitchen duty, it can quickly become the most stressful day of the year. You can cut back on the pressure by getting all the prep work done weeks in advance, but the turkey, the centerpiece of the meal, inevitably comes down to the last minute. There are dozens of ways to mess it up, from dried-out breast meat to brittle skin, and the pressure continues even after the bird leaves the oven.

A Thanksgiving turkey isn't just food; it's a ceremonial centerpiece. Arguably the most important Thanksgiving ritual is the carving of the turkey, a celebrated act that you are often expected to perform at the table with all the guest's eyes on you. Unfortunately, not all of us can carve it up as well as Snoopy in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and the last thing you want is to embarrass yourself by making a mess of things. Fortunately, Food Network's Alton Brown has a tip for preparing your turkey that will save you a lot of trouble at the carving stage.

Remove the wishbone before you roast

In a video posted to the Food Network Facebook page, Alton Brown tells viewers to remove the wishbone of the turkey before they put it in the oven. The wishbone is technically known as the furcula and is located at the top of the turkey's breast. According to Reader's Digest, it is formed by the fusion of a bird's clavicle bones, helping it move its wings. However, the furcula makes it very difficult to carve breast meat. It is best to remove the wishbone before cooking the turkey so you don't have to dig your fingers into a piping hot turkey in an attempt to separate it from the cooked meat.

In the Facebook video, Brown suggests removing the wishbone from a raw turkey by first placing the bird in a large bowl to prop up the neck. Orient it so the turkey breast is facing toward you and pull back the skin, exposing the wishbone. Carefully trace along the bone with a knife, cutting just deep enough to loosen it. Brown recommends using a boning or paring knife for the task. At each end of the wishbone, there is a joint connecting it to the rest of the bird's skeleton. Once you cut around that, you should be able to bend the wishbone upward and slide your knife underneath the pointy bit where the two ends meet. Then, pull the wishbone out with a twisting motion, and you're all set to go.