How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken
Whole chickens are good for roasting, but you can also cut them into pieces for braises and stews -- and they cost about a dollar less than precut chickens.Tip: Don't throw away the leftover back and neck: Store them in the freezer each time you cut up a chicken until you have enough for stock. Simmer for an hour with water to cover and you'll have a base for a great soup.
With chicken breast side up, pull each leg away from body, then slice through skin between breast and drumstick.Tip: A sharp chef's knife makes cutting easier, and a separate cutting board for meat helps avoid cross-contamination. These steps also work for cooked chicken.
Turn chicken on its side. Bend each leg back until thighbone pops out of its socket. Cut through joint and skin to detach leg completely.
With chicken on its side, pull each wing away from body. Cut through joint and remove wing.
Lift up chicken and cut downward through rib cage and then shoulder joints to separate breast from back (save back for stock).
Place breast skin side down. Split center bone using a chopping motion, then slice through meat and skin to separate into 2 pieces.
To cut breast halves into quarters, turn each skin side up and cut in half diagonally through bone.
To divide the legs, turn each skin side down and cut through joints (along white fat line) to separate thigh from drumstick.
You should end up with 6 to 10 parts, depending on whether you divided the breast halves and legs.