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How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken

The Martha Stewart Show, October 2008

The cost of buying chicken parts separately, at their various prices per pound, can end up costing you nearly double what it would cost if you cut up a whole chicken, which sells for far less per pound than the parts individually. 

While this process may seem a little daunting, it really is quite easy and with practice can be done in no time at all while making Pan-Roasted Chicken or Broiled Chicken with Onion and Golden Raisin Chutney. And depending on how you cut up the chicken, you will be left with bones that you can make Chicken Stock with.

Cut Up a Whole Chicken How-To:
1. Place chicken breast side up on work surface.

2. Gently pull the leg away from the body.

3. Slice through the skin between the breast and the thigh.

4. Pull the leg outward until the thighbone pops out of its socket.

5. Cut along the backbone around the ball and socket, pulling the leg away to detach.

6. Repeat with remaining leg.

7. Lay the breast on its side.

8. Pull away the wing until the joint is exposed.

9. Cut between the joint and the breast to remove the wing. If you want to remove the wing tips, pull them away and slice through the joint.

10. Lift up the breast.

11. Using a knife (or poultry shears), slice between the rib cage and shoulder joints.

12. Slice through the rib cage on both sides of the bird.

13. Cut down through those bones, to separate the two sections.

14. Slice along either side of the bone in the center -- called the keel bone.

15. Work the knife gently along the rib cage to remove the meat from the rib cage.

16. Once both halves have been separated, trim away the slender fillet from each.

17. To divide the leg: turn the leg skin side down.

18. Cut along the white fat line to separate the thigh from the drumstick.

Comments (1)

  • geomagreen 31 Oct, 2008

    When I cut up a whole chicken, I use gloves (thin surgical) and use garden sheers (for small limbs) - they are sharp, stainless steel and do the job. When I'm done, I simply dipose of the gloves and presto, no mess.