Best Turkey Lifters | Don’t Drop the Bird on the Floor

Imagine if you were cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving, and you are expecting guests for dinner. What happens if you drop the cooked bird accidentally on the floor right when you were removing it from the roasting pan? First of all, I would not want to be one of those guests. Secondly, do not even think about picking it up from the floor and pretend nothing happened. This is not one of those situations where you can hide behind the 3 seconds rule.

Unfortunately, I had a similar experience, and the whole bird was wasted away. I suppose you are familiar with cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving or at least watched someone taking the big bird out of the roasting pan and transfer to the table. In that case, you probably know that lifting massive meat is not easy once it is cooked. It gets tough, especially when it is rubbed all over with the greasy marinade. You do not have to worry, though; just get yourself a pair of the best turkey lifters and move the roasted turkey anywhere in the kitchen without any issues.

Turkey Lifters

When it comes to turkey lifters, your options include roasting racks with lifters, stainless-steel fork lifters, and silicone slings. Any of these would do the work just fine. However, the turkey lifter forks are phenomenal with the way they allow you to handle the roasted bird. The sharp prongs pierce into the meat and anchor the turkey perfectly. It is almost impossible to drop the turkey while transferring. I also love the fact that lifter forks are versatile. Besides lifting, I can use them for carving and shredding the meat. To me, it is the best choice, and not only for lifting turkey but also for prime ribs, beef roast, whole chicken, pork, lamb, and poultry. Some people might prefer other options. In the end, it is your call. You can review the quick comparison below and decide which one is more suitable for your kitchen work environment.

Lifter typeCarrying methodVersatilityMaterial usedEase of cleaningDishwasher safe
Turkey lifter forksForks get pierced into meat and anchor.You can also use the lifter forks for carving and shredding.Stainless steelAs easy as pie.Yes
Silicone slingsThe meat is laid on the silicone base, includes handles.You can use the silicone slings for other food.SiliconeFood particles can sometimes get stuck on the base.Yes
Roasting racks with liftersThe meat is laid on the wire base, includes lifting handles.It is merely used for turkey or big meats such as pork butt or lamb leg.Non-stick coated steelFood particles can sometimes get stuck on the base.Yes

Note that among all the options, the lifter forks are the easiest to clean. It is true that the other two choices are dishwasher safe. However, the meat sits on the base during cooking, which can often be messy. The piled-up drippings at the bottom need to be cleaned thoroughly before placing the silicone sling or lifter rack in the machine. That is another reason why I prefer the forks over the other two options.

The stainless-steel lifter forks are not only made for transferring the turkey around the kitchen. They are also great to be used as claws when you grill or roast massive meats. Even better, try making some authentic Mexican shredded beef from chuck roast in a slow cooker. You will be amazed at how talented these forks are at shredding the meat.

Tip Alert

Use the turkey lifter forks as claws when making outdoor barbecue. Shred large meats such as pulled pork easily.

In general, silicone slings come with cold handles, which is a plus when you are handling extremely hot food. You can easily interlock them above the food and lift up. If you ask my opinion, they are a better fit for baking smaller things than turkey. Although they come in large-sized versions, silicone slings are best for cooking lasagna, cheesecake, and similar.

How to use the turkey lifter forks?

In order to get a good grab on turkey with the lifter forks, you need to try to target the breast area of the bird. Start by inserting the tip of the forks with an angle from the sides. Some people make a mistake and use these tools like a spatula. It is important to stick them into the meat and hook it up. Piercing with the sharp prongs allows you to have full control while carrying the turkey.

How do I keep my turkey moist?

You can take advantage of the brining method or apply marinades to keep the turkey moist while it is getting roasted. Another way to keep it juicy is to use a meat injector, and infuse savory mixtures into the bird before cooking. This process is probably the most effective way to prepare a juicy bird for Thanksgiving.

Do you put water in the bottom of the roasting pan?

Some people like to add water to the bottom of the roasting pan in order to make the meat more tender and moister. This technique might work on red meats like the prime ribs, lamb,  or beef brisket. Nevertheless, it is not a good idea to add water to the bottom of the roasting pan when cooking turkey. This is simply because of the low-fat level of turkey meat.

Tip Alert

Most roasting racks with lifters have detachable handles. You can take them off from their clips easily and use as a cooling rack.

How long does it take to roast a turkey?

It takes approximately 3 to 3-1/2 hours to roast a 10 to 18 pounds turkey thoroughly in standard ovens. However, the fastest way to roast a turkey is to cook it in an electric roaster oven. Due to the smaller cooking environment and more efficient heating element system, the electric roaster ovens can cook 1/3 times faster than regular ovens.


  • When shopping for turkey lifter forks, always select the one with the longest handles. You do not want your fingers to be too close to the smoking hot bird that just came out of the oven.
  • Also, make sure that the turkey lifters come with slip proof handles. Otherwise, you might still drop the bird because of the hot steam coming out of it even if the prongs are pierced deep into the meat.
  • Some roasting racks with lifters are made from unstable material. To be on the safe side, check to see if it can handle at least 30 pounds when shopping for one.
  • You can also use the silicone slings in the roaster ovens, pressure cookers, and slow cookers.


  • Do not attempt to wash turkey lifter forks by hand. They are very sharp, and you can easily hurt yourself if you are not being careful.
  • Most silicon slings and roasting racks with lifters have the top loader design only. Meaning that it would be very hard to load them from side to traditional ovens. You would be better off by cooking in top-loadable electric roaster ovens.

In Conclusion

Don’t turn the lifting and moving the turkey to the table into a hassle. It is a massive meat and needs to be handled with precaution, especially when it just comes out of the smoking hot oven. I feel secure and can quickly transfer the bird whenever I use my turkey lifter forks. They have very sharp prongs that pierce into the bird effortlessly. Once you anchor the meat, it becomes stable, and you can move it all around without any issues. Silicone slings and roasting racks with lifters are similar to each other in the way that you place the turkey at the bottom base before you put it in the oven. They can do the work, but if you are after easy cleaning and handling, then you should get yourself a pair of turkey lifter forks.

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