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How to cut up a chicken

Buying a whole chicken in generally cheaper than buying chicken pieces, plus when you cut up your own whole chicken you can cut it up exactly the way that you want it. Here's how to cut up a whole chicken and save yourself a few Rands.


OK, there's this bird just sitting there- where to start? With the legs, that's where! Take your sharp knife (it makes this go much easier, believe me) and slit through the skin between the leg and breast. You won't really be cutting through meat yet, just the skin so you can pull the leg further away from the breast.

Repeat on the other side, using your hand to pull the leg down away from the breast. Make sure those legs are touching the cutting surface by pushing them down. There's some thin meat you are cutting through at this point.

Now take the breast portion in one hand and leg portion in the other (it helps to put the chicken up on it's neck area for this- sorry, no picture 'cause I needed both hands to do it!), and pull back and down on the legs until you hear cracking and can see the natural area to cut (right about where the knife is in this picture). Use your knife to cut the legs from the back.

Now cut down the middle of the leg section. Don't be afraid to push down, you're going through bone here. Put some power in it! Usually my cut is not right in the middle, though, because the knife goes to the side of the back bone so one thigh gets more bone than the other side. It doesn't matter, really.

Now pull back the leg from the thigh, slicing a little with the knife to expose the joint in order to see where to cut. When you can see where the joint connects, cut through to separate the leg from the thigh. Repeat for the other leg.

Then do the same thing for the wings, finding the joint where they connect with the breast and cutting through. I always cut a little more breast meat with the wings than normal because they are pieces we eat and, well, the person who gets these should have a little meat on them, shouldn't they?

I find it easiest to just stand the breast and back portion up again and use the knife to cut down through the two. I often get more ribs on the breast than I want, but again,who cares? Just cut down as far as you can, I never try to go all the way through here- it just doesn't work for me very well.

When I've gone as far as my knife allows, I pull the back from the breast, cracking the little bones holding them together and cutting anything I need to separate them.

Now use that power and cut through the breast, bone-side up. Again, it's probably not going to be even- one breast will have more bone than the other. No big deal.

Lastly, I split the breasts in half again to make them into more manageable pieces. If you want to leave them whole, skip this step and be done early! How much time did this take? Less than 10 minutes.


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