Two breasts, two wings, two thighs and two drumsticks

Home Butchering Chicken

It’s easy, saves money and offers cuts from every part of the chicken to use in different recipes. Here is a tutorial to home butchering a chicken. It’s best to use a thin, flexible and sharp boning knife to get the job done.

1. Wiggle a wing to locate the ball joint, where the wing meets the breast. Separate the wing by cutting through that joint. Repeat with the other wing. Snip the bony wing tips and save (or freeze) for stock making.

2. Hold up the chicken by one of its legs. Slice open the skin between the breast and leg. This will make the joint where the thigh meets the carcass easy to find. Cut through this joint to separate the whole leg. Repeat with the other leg.

3. To separate the drumstick from the thigh, place the whole leg, skin side down, on the cutting surface. Cut through the thin line of fat separating the drumstick from the thigh, wiggling the joint to determine where it’s located. Repeat with the other leg.

4. To remove the backbone, start at the neck and cut through the rib cage on one side and then on the other side. (Kitchen shears work best.) Reserve (or freeze) the backbone and neck for making chicken stock.

5. Place the breast skin side down on the cutting surface. Position a sharp, heavy knife on the center of the breast bone and using the palm of your hand and a lot of pressure cut through the bone and white cartilage.

Now you have eight pieces of chicken: two breasts, two wings, two thighs and two drumsticks.

Stockpile the backs, necks and tips from wings in the freezer. When you have enough, start a pot of stock to use in your favorite chicken soup recipe. Stock is a versatile and valuable ingredient that can be used in smaller measure to flavor rice, vegetables and more.