We all like to save money and almost all of us like chicken. An easy way to enjoy both is to buy a whole chicken at your favorite grocer and ask their butcher to cut it up. We all know -- that won't happen. So we'll take it home and cut it up. It really isn't that difficult so don't be intimidated.
Let's get started. Get your sharpest knife and a clean cutting board.
I like to start by removing the wings first. Lay the chicken on your cutting table with the breast side down. Grab one wing and pull it away from the chicken. You can move the wing back and forth to find the joint. Now cut through this joint and remove the wing. Repeat with the other wing. See, that was easy.
Next, I like to remove the backbone. Two swift cuts on each of the vertebra and the backbone is removed. You want this to be about 1 - 1 1/2 in. wide. You will need to grab the tail and hold the chicken up so that the backbone is vertical to your cutting board and is facing you. Place your knife approximately 1/2 inch or so to the right of the tail. Now make a quick and firm downward cut with your knife. Two important tips:
1) Hold onto the tail tight.
2) Push your knife quickly and firmly.
Now repeat on the other side. And the back is removed.
OK, now let's remove the legs. Turn the chicken so the breast side is up. Grab the leg as seen in next photo and gently pull the leg away from the body. There is a "natural" seam that separates the leg from the body so your knife needs to cut thru the skin.
The thigh bone is connected to the body at the hip. Continue to gently pull on the leg separating it from the body as the knife cuts thru the joint.
A tip -- you can "wiggle" the leg a little to help you see the joint. Remember this is the hip joint and it is a ball in a socket joint.
Now cut through it as seen below.
OK, now cut off the other leg the same way.
Our next job is to separate the thigh from the drumstick. Put your knife down and lay the leg on your cutting table skin side down. Now while holding the drumstick, move the thigh back and forth. See the joint move where the skin stops. I call this the fat line or our cut line.
Make your cut there -- thru the joint, separating the thigh from the drumstick.
We're almost done. Lets split the breast into two pieces.
As seen in picture above is the whole bone in breast. We could just take our good sharp knife and make a hard and swift cut through the breast bone and cut the breast into two pieces. Or we could do what I prefer to do and that is to remove the breast bone and then cut the whole breast into two pieces. When you go to your local grocer you will notice these called split breasts on the label.
And now we just need to use our knife to cut the breast in half -- thus the term split breasts.
And now look what you have done -- what was a whole chicken is now 8 pieces that are ready to cook the way you want to and you saved money.
So let's look at the money. I bought the whole chicken for $6.05. Had I bought the 8 pieces seen above separately I would have spent $8.73 and would have saved $2.68 by purchasing the whole chicken and cutting it up myself. You can do it. Not bad for just one chicken. This may be slightly different for you based on the store you may be shopping at. But, you can save money and know that you have a quality product that you, yourself produced.