There are many ways of doing this. After reading this, you'll start with a whole chicken and end up with about ten pieces, 2 scraps and lots of bones for stock. There is no sawing through bones! That sets my teeth on edge!
Why in the world would I have to cut up a chicken. I can buy it already cut up?
Simple answer, it's usually cheaper to buy it whole.
But, you have to evaluate what you are willing to pay for. There are times I'm too busy and just don't feel like dealing with the mess, I'll gladly pay $3-4 dollars a pound for cut up chicken. I'm cheap so I'm willing to pay less and have the time at home, listening to music, and cutting chicken.
Warning: Using a sharp knife will make this a lot easier to cut the chicken and your own digits. Please be careful with the knife!
More warnings on Step 2.
Step 1: Tools to start out.
Knife, I prefer a small sharp knife. (small is optional, sharp shouldn't be. Fact: most cuts in the kitchen involve a dull knife.)
Bowl with plastic bag.
Optional, Kitchen shears, or chicken scissors .
Sharp knife. We aren't going to be sawing through bones. As I mentioned before, that puts my teeth on edge! If you think about the way some people react to fingernails on a chalkboard, you've gotten the right image.
No, we are going to be cutting chicken the easy way: using only a paring knife. You can use a bigger knife but I find I have more control with a small sharp knife.
Cutting board can be optional. We aren't going to be slicing onto a surface. I don't want my counters messed up so I use one.
Bowl with plastic bag. This is a Rachel Ray idea. (I'm neither a fan or not of hers. I like the idea of a 30 minute meal but some of her recipes are a bit out there for my tastes. Ginger Flank Steak with Wasabi Smashed Potatoes with Fried Goat Cheese Salad. No thanks.) Her idea is to get a medium bowl, line it with a plastic grocery bag to toss your scraps in. It keeps you from making trips to the garbage. It will also come in handy later!
Paper towels. Your going to need to wipe the yuckies off your hands and it will help to pull the skin off. Your hands will be slippery and the paper towel will get a good grip. It's also good at the beginning to soak up the chicken juices so they aren't flowing onto the counter. Yuck!
Kitchen shears. My mom called them her chicken scissors. Hers were metal, dishwasher safe and totally used for chicken and nothing else. I'll point out when you could use them.
In the picture, the chicken is breast side up. Sometimes it's easier to flip it over to get to other parts.