Being a fan of the New England Patriots is less a hobby and more of a lifestyle. We all have chosen to follow a franchise that is an example of success and excellence. Those two nouns should not just be used to describe the Patriots as a team, though, but the fans as well. We should set ourselves those goals, just like our team does, and try to copy what they do and stand for.
On Thanksgiving day, we have a special chance to do so.
Just take the Patriots' offense, for example. Led by Tom Brady, it is a precision-based machine – carving through defenses like a knife through turkey skin. Of course, they wouldn't be able to do so without some proper preparation. The same goes for Thanksgiving: you would not be able to do certain things without preparation and a plan.
Now, we won't lay out our entire Thanksgiving game plans – but we will share one very important part: carving the bird. Let's take a look at the film.
[The film, in this case, is a YouTube video posted by the Culinary Institute of America – the CIA – called "How to Carve a Turkey". Dean Brendan Walsh leads through it and it's worth a look.]
1) First and Goal
Your turkey has been roasted and you have let it rest for at least 30 minutes to keep "all the juices from running away from you". Before he begins to carve the bird, we see Walsh in a two-point stance and his eyes down on the field of play:
The first step is to remove the legs. Walsh displays good vision and patience in displaying the target areas of the first cuts:
He then proceeds to accurately cut along the separation marks until he reaches the joints. At that point he pulls the leg away from the rest of the body (note: a leg-sweep is no 15-yard penalty when carving a turkey), pushes the leg up to expose the joint and cuts around it:
The leg is off. Do this at the other leg as well for maximum leg experience.
2) Second and Goal
The next step is to remove the meat at the breast. While Walsh used underneath patterns on first down, he elects to go deep on second down, running his knife along the keel bone:
At first, it looks like a go route but once he reaches the breast bone, it turns into an out route. Walsh cuts along the bones down to the wing joint in order to separate the meat from the rest of the turkey while also keeping the skin intact. A really nicely drawn up play:
3) Third and Goal
Walsh goes back to the basics on third down but shows a lot of versatility while doing so. First, he removes the wings from the body at the various joints before he proceeds to carve the legs. Again, he works along the natural separation lines to find the defense's weakness: the joints.
The chef cuts through it to force a defensive breakdown and force a one-on-one match-up with the thigh:
Walsh reads the play perfectly and finds the area he needs to isolate: the bone, which he removes via a nice route combination. He cuts on both sides of it to remove it from the field of play.
4) Fourth and Goal
Walsh had a lot of success on second down and goes back to it on fourth down. He places the breast onto the table and cuts through it against the grain:
However, this play is a combination of the ones used on second and third down because after cutting through the breast, Walsh goes to his second read, the thigh. This is a play with a very high success rate – and a back-up plan: if the meat gets too cold, put it in the oven "just for a minute or two".
The turkey is carved, the meat is warm and everything looks beautiful. That's a clutch sequence of plays.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!