Many of us have grown used to the convenience of grabbing a bulk pack of chicken thighs or a pound of wings. While there is a time and place for this, buying your meat as a full bird and separating it yourself can actually save you money! Of course, D’Arcy’s can custom butcher anything to order, but there is a sense of pride when all you need is a whole chicken, a cutting board, and a sharp knife.
#1: Safety First
Begin with the most important piece of safety equipment you can have in your kitchen: a properly sharpened chef’s knife. Any six- to nine-inch blade is usually appropriate for separating a bird– if your knife is dull, choose an affordable sharpening service. Consider safety glasses and cut-proof gloves, it may seem like overkill but it can help if you are unconfident with a sharp knife.
#2: Legs & Wings
Start with the bird on its back, breast-side up. Pull each wing to the side to find the joint, then cut down firmly with a sharp knife. Don’t force it– if you feel resistance, you are cutting through bone and not the joint. Once the wings are removed, pull the legs aside and slice through the skin connecting to the body.
Repeat the same strategy you used to find the wing joints to find the thigh joints. Cut through where there is the least resistance and separate the connected thighs and legs from the body. If desired, separate the drumsticks by cutting along the line of fat found between the leg and thigh.
Cut away any excess fat, skin or other unwanted parts from the bird. Using either your sharp knife or a set of kitchen shears cut through the ribs on each side and separate the breastbone from the backside. Set aside the backbone and neck to make chicken stock later, if desired.
Lay the breasts skin-side down and apply your knife’s pressure along the bone that runs down the middle. Use a firm, even chopping motion to split the connected pieces into two chicken breasts. If you want, you can split the breasts again horizontally into more manageable pieces.
There you have it! If you followed the steps, you should have eight to ten pieces of a chicken and some bones for broth. If you have any concern or hesitation about carving a whole bird, contact or visit us today at D’Arcy’s! Our helpful, professional staff will walk you through any steps necessary for you to lay out the perfect spread.