How to Gut a Turkey

Written by lacy enderson
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What is Thanksgiving dinner without a turkey? Turkeys have graced the Thanksgiving table for centuries, and will continue to do so for many years to come. The fat on a turkey makes it a desired bird, and with so many people to feed on Thanksgiving, it quickly became the sought after meat for the tradition. Most people purchase their turkeys at the supermarket, but sometimes one is killed. If you are planning to hunt your Thanksgiving turkey, read through the following steps to learn how you can properly gut the bird.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Sharp knife
  • Gloves

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Using a sharp knife, make a slit from the breastbone all the way to the anus.

  2. 2

    Reach inside the opening and pull up the large intestine. Using the same sharp knife cut a circle around the anus. This will loosen the intestine.

  3. 3

    Open up the cavity so you can see inside. Grab the intestines and the gizzard. Remove the lungs, liver and heart.

  4. 4

    Carefully place the turkey in the sink, using both hands. Let running water pour over the turkey until it is thoroughly rinsed.

  5. 5

    Pick the bird without harming the skin to keep it fresh when cooking. To speed up the process, run the turkey under scalding hot water. This will loosen any feathers or other blemishes.

Tips and warnings

  • If your turkey is bow killed, it should be prepared within 60 minutes. The bow can penetrate the organs which can cause faeces to spill over. This can ruin your bird if it sits too long. If the turkey is shot in the head, it can wait up to 6 hours.
  • After your turkey is gutted, put it in the refrigerator. Leaving a gutted turkey in a warm car can cause it to spoil. If you are not near a refrigerator, stuffing the turkey with ice prevents spoilage.

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