For some recipes, I keep my chicken whole and roast it. For others, I break the chicken down into 9 pieces and cook the individual pieces. Here’s a simple step-by-step tutorial to break down (butcher, not “butcher”) a whole chicken. This is a pasture-raised chicken, which is what I highly recommend. From one chicken, I generally get 3 meals for 4 people total (so 12 servings): one dinner the first night, leftovers for the next day’s lunch, then I cook the bones to make broth to use as a soup. (*I am not a professional chef, so this is the home cook’s version.)
- large cutting board (preferably plastic; wooden may hold on to the bacteria in the chicken, even after washing)
- a sharp, large chef’s knife
- poultry shears
Step 1: Gather everything you need. Unwrap your chicken. I like mine to be chilled, as it makes it easier to cut through.
Step 7: Separate the thighs from the leg. This requires you to pull the leg back to snap where the joint is then cut through where the bone is to separate it.