Quartering a Chicken How-To
You can find precut chicken quarters in the grocery store, but you’ll save money and have more control over the result if you cut up a whole chicken yourself. It doesn’t take much extra time or effort.
Separate the Legs
Turn chicken breast-side up. Gently pull leg away from body, then slice between thigh and body to reveal hip socket; cut through joint to remove leg. Repeat with remaining leg.
Remove the Backbone
Lift up chicken and cut downward through rib cage and then shoulder joints to separate breast from back (save backbone for making stock).
Split the Breast
Slice along either side of bone in center, cutting through rib cage. Split wishbone in half with heel of knife. Separate breast halves.
Prepare for Roasting
For the crispiest skin, let chicken stand at room temperature, uncovered, 1 hour before cooking. Pat pieces dry with paper towels so skin doesn't "steam" in oven.
For more techniques for chicken prep and recipes, see our Chicken Playbook.