Friday, April 1, 2011

How to cut a whole chicken into parts

A wee while ago I wrote that there is money to be saved buying whole chickens instead of individual parts. At the time I hadn't tried cutting up a whole chicken yet, I'd only ever roasted them whole and then used the cooked chicken in other dishes.

Well, yesterday I was adventurous and tried my hand at chopping up two raw chickens into their various parts.

I followed this excellent YouTube video by Ian Knauer of Gourmet Magazine, and found the whole process a lot easier than I was expecting. Ian shows exactly where to cut, using lines of fat as your guide, and each chicken only took about 5 minutes to pull apart. I recommend following his tutorial if you're trying this for the first time.

I've wanted to give this a go for a while, and then the perfect opportunity arose yesterday when I found whole, fresh, free range chickens on special at New World. This is so rare (as I said on Tuesday) that I bought six of them, plus a bag of drumsticks.

Most of the chickens went straight into the freezer for future roast nights, but two got hacked up by yours truly.

These were the tools I used: A sharp knife, kitchen scissors, a chopping board and two sizes of ziplock bags to freeze the pieces in.

Here's a photo gallery to show you the stages:

1. Start with the legs:

2. Cut off the wings:

3. Cut out the backbone and set it aside for making chicken stock with:

4. And finally, cut out the breast bone so you can cut where it was to separate the two breasts:

And there you have it - one chicken, cut into its parts:

Check out this draw of my freezer, now chocca block full of chickens and chicken pieces:

Do you think you'd give this a go? It's truly not that difficult.


  1. Thanks for posting this!! Love the idea of your blog!! I think we are on similar paths as I have recently vowed (beginning of the year) to cut out the supermarket as much as possible. I have already cut out the bread, cleaning supplies (laundry liquid, hand soaps, baby wash etc), jams/condiments for the most part, and milk (I am collecting raw milk straight from the farmer) in the space of a very short time! Thanks for the tips on cutting up the chicken, my local organic shop often does whole chooks on special ($9 for a size 14!!) so I will give it a go next time they are on special!!

  2. That's a lot of great changes you've made! You're way ahead of me. And what a great price for chicken. The cheapest I've seen is $20 for a frozen organic chicken, so I usually get free range. Where's your butcher?


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