Published November 1, 2006.
Sturdiness was our top requirement for a carving board—but a nice appearance didn't hurt.
As the centerpiece of the traditional Thanksgiving meal, the turkey—and the bearing of the turkey to the table—inspires in many minds the tableau Norman Rockwell painted in Freedom from Want. What his painting neglects to show, however, is the head of the table struggling to slice that huge bird on its coaster-like china platter. Seasoned cooks know that turkey carving is best done in the kitchen—and requires a sturdy board. We tested several carving boards to determine which should be entrusted with the holiday bird.
A modest 15-pound turkey measures roughly 16 inches long, a fact that put 18-inch boards out of the running. After half an hour's rest, our birds shed roughly half a cup of liquid, which flooded the shallow channels two other boards.
The deeper, wider trenches on our winner and another model were far more effective at trapping juices. What's more, both boards featured meat-anchoring mechanisms that kept the main course from sliding around en route from countertop to tabletop. Our winner featured a deep, oval-shaped central well where the turkey rested snugly, while another top choice had convex rows of pyramid points that gently gripped the turkey. Our winner bested its rival, however, in its versatility. Second place, even with its generous surface area (22 by 15 inches) and sturdy, padded feet, was no match for our the best board, which with one flip could be used to accommodate a flank steak or tenderloin roast. And our winning board is elegant enough even for Rockwell's table.