If there’s one Christmas ritual that’s sure to challenge even the most experienced cook, it’s carving the turkey.

Luckily this year you’ve probably got one of our wipeable plastic or oilcloth tablecloths, so at least if your carving does go awry, the clearing up won’t be so much of a chore.

That said, if you’ve gone to the effort of creating a beautiful Christmas table, you’ll want to do your best. Let’s face it, a turkey is a big, unwieldy bird and you’ve got to tackle it with confidence… with the added pressure of an audience, and probably some stuffing and sausages getting in the way.

The first slice almost always goes well. But don’t be lulled into a false sense of security – by the time you’re on your second or third slice you’re probably dealing with geometric chunks and your only hope is that everyone’s had too much sherry to notice.

Here’s our simple 5-step guide to carving the turkey

  1. Make sure you’ve got the right equipment – a sharp carving knife and a meat platter.
  2. Once your turkey is cooked, let it rest for 20 minutes or so to soak up the meat juices
  3. First, tackle the leg. Hold the end of the leg (use kitchen towel if it’s too hot) and carve downwards in one sweeping motion – the same with the drumstick. Use the knife, again in a downward sweep, to remove the meat from the bone.
  4. Next, slice the meat from the breast area by holding your knife at a slight angle and slicing with a smooth, downward motion. Keep making thin slices until you’ve reached the bone.
  5. The white meat from the breast and the brown meat from the thighs and drumsticks will have different flavours so it’s a good idea to provide each guest with a serving of each.

Good luck!