Easy step-by-step picture for how to cut a whole chicken into pieces for frying, stock, or baking. Buying whole chickens is far cheaper than buying them pre-carved. At my local shop, a whole chicken is ~$2.99/lb, where as once the pieces are separated, they go for up to $8.99/lb! So save yourself some serious cash and take pride in learning how to break down your own poultry. The added benefit is having an endless supply of homemade chicken stock from all of the left over pieces!
So grab a chicken, a cutting board, and a sharp knife, and you're on your way.
special thanks to canida for providing the hands and technique!
Step 1: Remove Excess
Remove the innards and any extra fat around the opening of the bird.
Step 2: Remove Thighs and Legs
Using a sharp knife, slice the skin in between the drumstick and body.
Find the joint and pop it out of it socket with your hands.
Finish the cut to remove the leg from the body.
Cut through the joint between the thigh and the leg. You can also use your hands to pop this joint out of its socket first.
Repeat on other side!
Step 3: Remove the Spine
Slice down each side of the ribs with a sharp knife. It starts to look like a scene from Alien at this point.
Continue cut to remove entirety of spine. This is a great piece to save for making chicken stock!
Step 4: Separate Breasts
Place knife on the breastbone and apply pressure to cut the breast into two halves.
Step 5: Remove and Separate Wings
If you wish to remove the "drumette" part of the wing, you can do this step first, but we left it attached to the breast. This is optional. I've heard it referred to as an "Airline Cut."
Finding the joints, remove the wing and wing tip from the breast. Use the tips in your stock.
Cut each breast in half crosswise to create evenly-sized pieces.
Repeat with other breast.
Step 6: Finis!
Now that you've cut your chicken into perfect pieces, isn't it time to try your hand at an Easy Fried Chicken Recipe?
Congrats - you're a chicken carving master!