How to Cut up a Whole Chicken – A Simple Method for Cutting up a Whole Chicken
If you want to save money and enjoy all of the different cuts of chicken meat, you should totally learn how to cut up a whole chicken. Contrary to what some people think, cutting up whole chicken is not actually very difficult at all. In fact, it’s pretty easy. When you buy a whole chicken instead of individual parts, you get many different cuts of meat for a lower cost than you would if you bought them all pre-cut. Additionally, you get the bones that can be used to make a rich and delicious broth for soups, stews, or adding to a myriad of dishes from risotto to chicken pot pie. If you’re not sold on chopping chicken yet, maybe you will be once you read about how easy and satisfying it is to do. For the best guide on a simple whole chicken cut up, read this helpful article.
How to Cut a Whole Chicken Into 8 Pieces
If you want to get your whole chicken cut up, the best thing to do is learn how to cut a chicken into 8 pieces. The eight pieces that you will yield when cutting up the chicken will be two thighs, two breasts, two wings, and two drum sticks for a total of eight ready-to-cook chicken parts. As you read, you will get two of each kind of cut of chicken, and each cut is perfect for a different preparation or chicken dish.
The breasts are great for cutlets or lean protein to add to a Caesar salad or noodle bowl.
The thighs are a bit fattier, and they’re great in the fall with roasted root veggies and kale, walnut and apple salad, or lemon roasted broccoli. The wings are amazing on game day, but if you want to get enough wings to satisfy your guests at a Super Bowl party, you might be better off getting a large quantity of pre-butchered wings at the supermarket. For now, you might be better off adding the wings to that delicious autumn dish I mentioned before, or pairing them with drumsticks for a four-piece BBQ chicken dish for one to two people.
If you’re going the BBQ route, make sure that you have plenty of other fixes because there won’t be a ton of meat on these sections.
Easy Way to Cut Up a Whole Chicken
Now that we know what might be on the table when it comes to the uses of each part of the chicken, let’s get into the practical explanation of how to cut it up into these parts. First, make sure that the chicken is dry by using a paper towel or two to pat it down. Then lay it with the abdominal section (breast side) facing up to begin the cutting up process.
Cut the drumsticks and thighs away by making a small cut behind them to separate them from the body of the chicken and then pulling them away from the breast.
Now that you have the thigh and drum bone sections separated from the whole chicken, cut them into their individual parts by making a slice along the fat line between the thigh and the drumstick. This should separate them easily.
To remove the wings, you are going to want to pull the wings upward so that you can feel where the joint attaches the wings to the body of the chicken. From this position, you should be able to cut through the cartilage and not the bone. If you feel a lot of pressure back when trying to slice into the wing joint, pause and make sure that you’re not cutting through bone. If your knife is sharp enough, you shouldn’t feel a lot of difficulty or resistance when slicing through this part.
Now for the chicken breasts. This part might be the more complicated part of the whole journey because you’re also going to want to debone the breast as you remove it from the rib cage. You should take the chicken and place it sideways on your cutting board.
To make things easier, cut the rib cage in half so that you can get a more stable cut and a clearer picture of where you need to direct your knife. Then you can see where the fat separates the meat from the bone.
Cut along this line, and you should be able to get yourself a boneless chicken breast in no time.
Now you should have your eight pieces of chicken along with the carcass that you can use to make sublime soups, stews, and other recipes. To make the stock, simply place the carcass into a pot with veggie scraps like garlic skins, carrot tops, and the parts of the onions that you don’t use.
Then cover with water and let the stock boil down on low for many hours. Continue to add water as you need, and then refrigerate the stock until it forms a fat layer on the top. Skim the fat and strain the broth before using it however you like, maybe even as a broth for a chicken noodle soup that you make with delicious perfectly cooked chicken breasts and thighs from your whole chicken.