How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken

Cutting chicken at home can not only save you money, but it can yield more meat. Learn how to cut a chicken to feed your family more, for less.

When it comes to chicken, it may be more convenient to pop into your nearest grocery store and buying the pre-cut chicken, but that doesn’t mean it is the better option. When you master the art of cutting chicken yourself, you will not only save money, but you will save the pieces of the chicken that you usually won’t get when you buy pre-cut chicken (for example, the little nuggets of meat called the “oysters”.

Also, you can use pieces like the neck, heart, back, and gizzards to make your own chicken broth. You also ensure that you have the right pieces that you will need to cook your meals and that they are cut exactly the way you need them. Read on to learn how to cut chicken to maximize on your purchase.

Removing the legs
When cutting chicken, begin with the legs. Lay the chicken on its side, gripping the leg and pulling it away from the body. Take a sharp knife and hold it as close to the thigh as possible (so that you don’t remove too much of the chicken breast skin. While cutting, continue to pull the leg away from the bone, waiting for the bone to pop out of the socket.

Take a paring knife and, place it just behind the thigh joint and dig out the little mea t nugget (called the oyster. Continue slicing through the skin of the chicken all the way from the tip of this nugget of meat to the opposite corner of the thigh, then completely detach the leg. Repeat this process with the other leg.

Separating the Drumsticks and Thighs
The leg is made up of two parts: the drumstick and the thigh. To separate the drumstick from the thigh, bend the leg until you crack the ball joint. Place the entire leg down with the inner side facing up and cut on the line that separates the drumstick and the thigh.

Removing the Wings
The next step of cutting chicken is to remove the wings. To do this, simply pull the wing away from the body until the wing joint is bared and cut.

Repeat this process with the other wing. Another option that you have is to remove the wing with a piece of the breast meat still attached. This will yield wings that are a bit more filling. To do this, lay the chicken on its side and use a sharp knife to cut about an inch up from the wing’s joint.

The cut should be parallel to the ribs. Flex the wing away from the body and use your knife to cut until you reach the wing joint. You will then cut through the joint until the wing is cut completely from the body.

Removing the Breast
The next step of cutting chicken is to separate the breast from the back, you will need to use a sharp knife to cut through the ribcage on both sides. The back of the chicken can be set aside to make your own homemade chicken broth.

When you have the chicken breast separated, locate the wishbone. This can be found at the thicker end. Once you find it, use a knife to cut it away from the breast and remove it. To cut the chicken breast in half, stretch the skin out smoothly, place the breast with the skin facing down and then cut down the middle. To cut the breast into quarters, take one half and place it with the skin facing up and then cut the breast in half diagonally.

One quick tip: Get into the habit of cutting up multiple chickens so that you will have enough parts for your favorite recipes.

Source: The Joy of Cooking

Now that you see how easy cutting chicken on your own is, what are you going to do with all of the extra chicken pieces that you have?

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