How to cut up a whole chicken (raw)
Did you know that the number of pieces in a package of chicken parts probably comes from an equal amount of chickens? The solution to getting matching pieces is simple: start with the whole bird.
Detaching the Legs and Wings:
With your kitchen shears, trim away any excess fat hanging onto the skin.
Pull a leg away from the body. Using a sharp knife, slice through the skin between the breast and drumstick to expose the meat under it.
Bend the leg back until you hear or feel the top of the thigh bone pop out of its socket.
Cut through the joint (and skin) to detach the leg completely. You should now have a fully detached chicken leg, with both thigh and drumstick.
Next, detach the wing by pulling it away from the body to identify the joint. Trim around the joint until you expose it.
Slice through the joint beginning at the shoulder area.
Fold the removed wing into a triangle. This makes for even roasting. Remove the other leg and wing similarly.
Separating the Breast from the Back:
Beginning at the bottom of the ribs where the legs were attached, cut up through the shoulders.
Fully separate the breast from the back. If using the back, cut it into two pieces. If not, you can get rid of it or save it for a savory stock.
1/ 2: Turn the breast skin-side up and flatten it w/ the heel of your hand. Feel down the center for the cartilage and bone. Using your chef's knife, cut through the skin and meat to the breast bone.
2/2: You may have to actually break the bone with your knife. Then slice the breast into two halves.
You should end up with six uniform chicken pieces.
To turn those 6 pieces into 8, separate the drumstick from the thigh. Use force to pop the bone from the socket. Trim away the skin, working in long, thin strokes, and trim the piece into 2.
- Kitchen Shears
- Boning Knife
- Chef's Knife
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