Monday, June 28, 2010

Cutting Up A Whole Chicken

I'll always remember the day I stood in my mom's kitchen shortly before my husband and I got married, and my mom told me I needed to learn to cut up a whole chicken. It was something my mom did regularly, as it was the only kind of chicken I ever remember her buying, and she cut them up with an incredibly sharp small paring knife, no less! But, there is no one like my mother, and that's the truth, so don't try it until you get pretty good at cutting up a chicken! I, on the other hand, must use a large knife to do the job but I get it done :) The picture above shows the whole chicken. I have already taken it out of its package and taken out the neck and giblets on the inside. You can save the neck for soup stock-I throw the giblets away-you can do whatever you want with them :)
I then place the chicken breast side down onto a cutting board that I use ONLY for raw meat. I take hold of one wing and pull it downward so that I can find the joint between the wing and body of the chicken. I take my knife and cut. If you are hitting bone, then you need to find the joint, which is very easy to cut. Do the same thing with the other wing.

I then grab the leg and thigh section and pull it downward to find the joint and cut it off. Do the same with the other leg and thigh.
Here's another picture of cutting off the leg and thigh.

I then place the leg and thigh sections skin-side down, onto the cutting board and find the joint and cut them each into two pieces.
Just like that.

I then place the back and breast section, which are still connected onto the cutting board, standing up and place my knife between the breast and back and cut all the way down.

I lay it out flat and cut the joint that connects the back and breast bones.
Above is the back bone that you can cook with the rest of your chicken or put into your stock pot with the neck bone.

Place the breast bone side up onto the cutting board and cut right down the middle of the breastbone. It will crack and then you can cut all the way through.
You now have two breast pieces.

This is what they look like meat-side up.
This is how I cut up a chicken. If you are still not sure about doing it yourself, there are several videos on youtube that can give you a more detailed look at how to cut up a chicken. But, once you get the hang of it, you will be so quick and it will be so easy, that you will never go back to paying extra for cut-up chicken pieces at the store.

I'm linking up with Tammy's Kitchen Tip Tuesdays at Tammy's Recipes.


Sheila said...

I remember right after we got married and I made fried chicken. My husband asked which piece of chicken he had--said he had never seen one like it!! I had 9 pieces of chicken-2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 breast pieces and one "pully bone" piece. I cut them up like my mom and Ma-Maw!

Rhonda said...

Sheila - my mom also cut it up into more than 8 pieces, we called the pully bone the wishbone. And when she fried a chicken, she even cooked the back, the bony back, the neck and the insides.

Good tutorial, Darcy, I like to use kitchen scissors when I cut up chickens.

Charmin's Thoughts said...


Oh, I feel so much better now. I had to cut up a whole chicken this week and wasn't sure at all of what I was doing. I remember seeing it done one time on tv and decided to "wing it" (pardon the pun) LOL. You showed me that I did it right.

Thank you, Thank you!
God Bless,

Erin said...

Almost 47 years old and I've never, ever cut up a chicken. Thanks so much for the great pictures...I honestly had no idea how to do it!