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How do I cut up a whole chicken?

Chicken is probably one of the most commonly used meats in many family homes. Kids love it and it can be used in a variety of ways. However, cutting a whole chicken can often pose a challenge. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to cut a whole chicken with ease.
  • Before cutting the chicken, check the internal cavity for gizzards, the neck and other organs. If found, remove and discard.
  • Rinse the chicken in cold water. Then place on a cutting boards with the breast facing up.
  • The first step of cutting is to remove the legs. Hold the left chicken leg with your left hand and pull it away from the body. Use a sharp, large knife, ideally a chef’s knife and cut through the skin along the side of the chicken. By doing this you will be able to slice through the hip joint easily and remove the leg. You should cut through the cartilage that connects the hip bone and the leg. By doing this you will have a clean separation without splintering any bone. Repeat on the right leg.
  • You will then want to divide the leg into sections. As metioned earlier, it is easiest to cut at the joint. To separate the thigh from the drumstick, grab both sections with either hand. Then bend in the opposite direction of the natural movement. You will then see an indentation at the back of the knee joint. Use your knife to cut at this indentation. Repeat on the other leg.
  • Removing the wings is the next step. Extend the wing in the opposite direction of the natural movement to find the shoulder joint. Cut where you find the indentation. Cut through the cartilage between the ends of the bones. Repeat on the other wing
  • If you want to divide the wing into two pieces, use your knife to slice through the elbow joint.
  • Now you must separate the breast from the back. Your aim is to cut away the breast from the back along the ribs where the white meat swells. With a sawing movement, cut through the ribs back to front. You are better off starting at the back as cutting from the front will give you a less secure hold on the meat and you are more likely to cut yourself. Repeat on the other side of the chicken. You will now have a whole breast and the back section in two pieces.
  • Next is splitting the breast into two pieces. Lay the breast on the cutting board facing up. Press down hard, pushing the centre down into the cutting board with the palm of your hand. This will help separate the breast bone. Then slice the top of the breast down the centre along the bone. Insert your thumb into the cut and loosen the meat from the bone. For boneless breast meat, cut the bone on either side and lift it away. You might need to break the cartilage to remove the bone. If you do not wish to remove the bone then split the bone with your knife and holding both sides, break the bone apart.
  • At the end you should have the entire chicken cut into pieces. You will have two wings, which you have also cut into pieces. You will have two drumsticks and two thighs. You will have two breast halves, either with or without the bone. You will also have the back section which may wish to discard.

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