Breaking Down a Chicken

May 20, 2020
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Remove chicken from plastic wrap. Do not rinse bird; pat dry with paper towels. Remove innards if present.

Use a dedicated cutting board for chicken, and wear gloves, if possible. Use a sharp boning knife.

To remove legs, separate leg from breast to reveal skin. Make small cuts in skin in between leg and breast to expose meat. Continue making small incisions up and around “oyster” (piece of dark meat located above and behind hip bone) and continue until you have completely circled the drumstick. Using both hands, dislocate hip joint. Using knife, remove leg from carcass. At knee joint, cut thigh from drumstick to make two pieces. Repeat with other leg.

Beginning at top of carcass, cut down right side of keel bone, cutting through skin and meat until knife meets rib cage. Follow knife to right, down rib cage, trying not to leave much meat on rib cage and more on breast. From the base of the rib cage, cut up toward wing. Remove breast from carcass, keeping drumette on breast (called an airline breast). Repeat with other breast. Use wing tips in stock.

Learn how to make Traditional Chicken Stock