Learn how to cut up a whole chicken in this step-by-step tutorial with pictures. A simple technique that will increase your kitchen skills.
Having certain kitchen skills can be beneficial in multiple ways. Canning, for instance, has the potential to save lots of money over time with the added assurance of food when funds are low. In the same way, learning to bake from scratch could save families a great deal of money on desserts and bread. There are numerous ways to enhance kitchen skills which could have many benefits for a household. Saving money is at the top of my list. So buying a whole chicken at a fraction of the cost of packaged pieces makes good financial sense to me.
Benefits of Cutting a Whole Chicken
Butchering a whole chicken saves us more than a just few dollars. A chicken usually cost $2- $3 less per pound than the one already butchered. It’s an especially good investment when each member of your family likes different parts of the bird. That way you don’t have to buy different packages of parts to satisfy everyone. One and done.
Acquiring Kitchen Skills
Being a self-taught home cook, I acquired many of my cooking skills through cooking shows, cookbooks, and messing around in the kitchen. And while I am in no way an Ina Gartner, I feel like I’ve learned enough to pass along to others. My technique may be less than textbook, but I promise it will get the job done. Let’s get started.
– Whole chicken, defrosted and innards removed
– Cutting board
– Butchers knife
– Sharp cutting shears
- Butterfly aka Spatchcock
A spatchcock or butterflied chicken is one that has been cut open such that the breast of the bird is fully intact and flatted while the backbone is removed. Spatchcocking allows the bird to cook evenly and rapidly. You can oven roast or grill a whole spatchcocked chicken in the same amount of time that you would sectioned pieces.
1. Make sure your chicken has been rinsed and dried by patting it inside and outside with paper towels.
2. Place the bird breast-side down on a cutting board with its legs towards you.
3. Hold the tail of the bird with one hand and use the butcher’s knife to cut alongside the neck down to the tailbone on both sides.
4. Flip the bird over breast-side up. Press the breastbone down to further flatten the bird and you are done
Depending on what you want to do with the chicken will determine how many pieces you want to end up with. Most birds will be cut into two, four, or eight pieces; sometimes ten if the breast is split. (I prefer 10 pieces as demonstrated below.)
– Starting with breast-side up, place the spatchcocked bird on a cutting board with the legs towards you with one hand carefully placed firmly on one side of the breast.
– Using a sharp butcher’s knife, cut between the breast all the way down to the bottom. If you were not able to cut all the way through the bone, you will need to apply more pressure or by cutting through with the shears.
– Starting with one chicken half placed on a cutting board skin side down, cut firmly midway between the end of the breastbone and the thigh using a sharp butcher’s knife. Repeat on the second half.
– Locate the joint that connects the leg and the thigh. Hold leg firmly to make the joint accessible. Using the butcher’s knife cut the meat around the joint, exposing the joint. Take the cutting shears and cut through the joint gristle to separate if needed. Repeat on the other side.
– Starting with the breast quarters, locate the joint that connects the wing to the breast. Grip the wing firmly to make the joint accessible. Using the cutting shears, cut through the skin and the joint removing the wing. Repeat with the other breast quarter.
- Split Breast: Optional 10ths
At this point, you will have 8 pieces. Cutting the chicken into 10 pieces is perfect for frying because the breast isn’t too big and it serves more people.
– To make it 10, you will need to cut the breasts in half evenly widthwise.
Please let me know if you found this post helpful. Are there any other kitchen tips you’d like to learn? Leave suggestions in the comments! I’d love to do more of these.
Put Your New Skills to Use
Make my Lemon Pepper Roast Chicken recipe!