How to Break Down a Chicken

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If there’s one kind of meat pretty much everyone enjoys, it’s chicken. The trouble is most people are intimated by breaking down a chicken so they avoid buying a whole chicken and buy the parts instead, but buying chicken parts can be expensive. As you will find out, there is nothing intimidating about it at all – as long as you’re willing to get your hands a little dirty.

You need to have some supplies ready before you start breaking down your chicken. You need a cutting board, separate plates for separate parts, paper towels, and a sharp chef’s knife. You will need to wash the chicken in cold water and remove the insides (gizzards, liver, heart, etc.)

First, lay the chicken down on its back on the cutting board. Take the drumstick and pull it outwards from the body until the skin is stretched taught. Take your knife and cut through the skin and the skin only! Then feel around to locate the joint between the hip and the thigh. You will pop this joint by grabbing the drumstick and pulling downwards from the body (this will be easy.) Use your knife to cut the leg away completely. Repeat this process to remove the other leg.

Next, you’re going to locate the breastbone by feeling along the breast centreline. Once you have found it, you will cut a line along one side keeping the tip of the knife against the bone. Now you should have the breast and rib exposed. Keep your knife against the ribs and pull the breast away from the bone. Scrape and cut away as necessary.

Cut the wings away by popping the joint that connects shoulder to breast. Just cut through the meat and cartilage until the wing comes off. Repeat this step for the other side.
You’re done! See, breaking down a chicken wasn’t that hard or time consuming. You saved money by buying a whole chicken and have developed some cutting skills as well!


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