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- How to Cut a Whole Chicken
- Benefits of Cutting a Whole Chicken Yourself
- Want More Content? Keep Exploring
Did you know that each year more than nine billion broiler chickens are produced for human consumption? These days chicken is becoming more popular not just in the United States, but worldwide. Unfortunately, this increase in popularity means that we can expect the price of chicken to increase in the future.
Purchasing a whole chicken is a great way to enjoy the meat while saving money. Sadly, many people are intimidated by the process of carving a whole bird.
While it might seem hard, the reality is that learning how to cut a whole chicken isn’t that bad. But how can you learn how? Simple: by following this guide. In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about cutting a whole chicken. Let’s get started!
How to Cut a Whole Chicken
Let’s dive right into the best cutting method for dealing with a whole bird. To help make it easy we’ve broken it down into five easy steps. Keep in mind that cutting a chicken is different from carving a chicken. Cutting refers to preparation before the chicken is cooked. Carving occurs after the whole chicken has been cooked.
1. Get Your Equipment Ready
Before you begin cutting the chicken, it’s important to get everything prepared first. You should have a whole chicken. Make sure it’s kept in the fridge until you’re ready to start. Next, you’ll need paper towels. There are a lot of harmful bacteria in the liquids that emerge when you cut a chicken.
As such, you want to make sure that you have something to absorb so it doesn’t get on any surfaces. You’ll also need a cutting board — preferably one that’s big enough to comfortably hold the entire chicken.
Finally, you’ll need a set of knives for cutting. Your knives must be as sharp as possible. If they aren’t, then it can make cutting the chicken a dangerous task. Make sure to check out this supplier if you’re looking to buy steak knives or any other type of cutting knife.
2. Clean Out the Cavity
First, you should make sure the cavity is completely cleared out before proceeding. Be careful during this step as it’s generally when the most liquid will spill out of the carcass. Sit the whole chicken up so that the neck is facing upward. Then, reach into the cavity and fish out any separate parts.
Typically, the butcher will include the neck and giblets inside this cavity. However, don’t throw these parts out! All the components (except for the liver) can be used later to help make flavorful chicken stock. During this phase, you should also trim off any excess fat with a knife or pair of scissors.
3. Remove the Legs
Let’s get started cutting with the legs of the chicken. The legs are beloved by dark meat lovers everywhere. To begin, gently pull the leg as far away from the chicken body as you can. You should notice the skin begin to stretch. Cut through this section of skin and press down. This will reveal the leg and the thigh joint.
The thigh joint is what’s keeping the leg secured to the body. So, we need to pop it out. Securely grasp the chicken thigh. Then apply pressure upward. With any luck, you’ll hear a popping sound. Then, get your knife and begin following the outline of the meat that you can see through the skin.
Once you cut through the skin the leg should come right off. Repeat with the other chicken leg. Now, if you want to serve the thighs and the drums together, then that’s completely fine. However, so people prefer to separate them so you get eight whole pieces altogether. If you want to do this, then place the thigh skin-side down on the cutting board. You should notice a line of fat running across the length of the chicken.
This will be your guide for cutting. If you’re in the right position, then cutting through this fat line should be smooth and easy. If you’re experiencing resistance, then you’re cutting in the wrong area. As such, you should move your knife around until it cuts smoothly. Repeat with the other thigh and drum combo.
4. Cut Off the Wings
To cut the wings, you should first put the whole chicken breast-side down. Then, find the armpit of the chicken. Cut deeply into this spot while simultaneously pulling down on the wing. Pull until you hear a pop. This is the bone popping out of the joint. Now, take the knife and begin working it around the exposed muscle area.
Make sure that you’re cutting in the direction of the wing and not the bird itself. This is important if you want to avoid cutting into the breast meat. Once the wing is removed, repeat the process on the other side.
Some people also prefer to take off the wingtips. If you want to do this, then find the intersection of the tip. While holding on to it, slice firmly along the joint area. It should come right off.
5. Separate the Chicken Breast
The chicken breast, or white meat, is the last thing you should remove from the bird. To do this, you’re going to want to lay the chicken on its side. This will provide you with stability when you’re cutting. To get started, first find the fat layer visible on the outside.
Then, take your knife and begin gently cutting through this layer. As you cut, grip the chicken breast and pull up. Your goal here is to cut as closely as possible to the rib cage. This will provide you with the most meat. After cutting through the breast, the tenderloin will become exposed.
You can either leave this on or cut it off depending on your preference. Make sure you also go to the backbone of the chicken. There’s a part known as the oyster. This is one of the most flavorful pieces of meat found on the chicken.
How to Cut a Whole Chicken
Benefits of Cutting a Whole Chicken Yourself
After reading how to cut a chicken, you might be thinking that it’s a lot of work. There’s indeed more effort that comes with cutting a chicken by yourself. However, there’s also a lot of benefits that come with it. Let’s take a look at some of the main ones.
1. You Can Use the Carcass to Make Stock
One of the best parts of using a whole chicken is reusing the carcass and organs for stock. You can also throw in some flavorful veggies, like carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. The homemade stock simply doesn’t compare to store-bought stock in terms of flavor. It’s so much richer and decadent.
Plus, you can use any leftover meat to make a delicious chicken noodle soup. If you don’t want to make stock right away, then no problem. Simply freeze the rest of the carcass until you’re ready to use it.
2. It’s More Affordable
Simply put, it’s much more affordable to buy a whole chicken than a processed one. There’s a variety of reasons for this. For one thing, you don’t need to pay anyone to deconstruct it for you. You’re also buying in wholesale, which is typically cheaper than purchasing individuals. Finally, you get even more use out of it.
This is especially true if you also use the carcass to make stock afterward. With the money you save purchasing a whole chicken, you can put it toward buying organic or local. This helps make sure that both the chicken and the supplier are happy too.
3. It’s Cleaner Than Buying Processed Chicken
A whole chicken is also a whole lot cleaner than purchasing a processed one. When meat packing plants process chickens a variety of bacteria mixes when they cut the bird for you.
These types of bacteria can cause serious sickness. As such, purchasing a whole chicken can allow you to avoid potential food poisoning that comes with processed chicken. This is important if you’re serving the chicken to older people or younger children.
Want More Content? Keep Exploring
We hope this article helped you learn how to cut a whole chicken. As you can see, preparing the bird isn’t as hard as it looks. Still, you shouldn’t feel bad if you mess up the first few times.
No one’s first whole chicken cut will be perfect. Like anything else, getting good at it requires practice. As such, the more you try it, the easier it will get. So start cutting your whole chicken today! Did you enjoy this article? If the answer is yes, then you’re in the right place. Keep reading to find more topics that you’re sure to love.