Can you believe it? Until yesterday, I'd never actually done the work myself - I'd left this job to my local grocer or meat market guy (Thanks, Jim!). But, I have been seriously craving chicken and dumplings and/or fried chicken (weird, right?) and thought that I should do it properly....so here goes.
And believe me, I spent almost as much time talking and apoligizing to the chicken as I did actual cutting - we got quite close him and me. My first chicken may not be perfect, but I did find that the process was rather painless (for me, anyway), a little messy, but a LOT easier than I thought thanks to America's Test Kitchen, a sharp knife, a little bravery! :)
Tutorial: Cutting up a Chicken
1 pair of kitchen/chicken scissors
Here is where you get to see my sad, little cutting board. I have a big, beautiful solid wood board that I adore, really I do! But, alas, these types of tasks is why I keep my college cutting board on hand. Cutting up meat, poultry, etc. should always be done on a plastic, non-porous surface so that it can get a really good, deep-down clean when you're finished. A great-big plastic board is ideal, but as you can see, even a little one can work!
1. With a sharp chef's knife, cut through the skin around the leg where it attaches to the breast.
3. Use a chef's knife to cut through the flesh and skin to detach the leg from the body.
4. A line of fat separates the thigh and drumstick. Cut through the joint at this point. Repeat steps 1-4 with the other leg.
Still with me? We're in the home stretch!
7. Place the knife on the breastbone, then apply pressure to cut through and separate the breast into halves.
8. Cut each breast in half crosswise into two pieces.
Now remember to respect the chicken and make it into something worthwile and delicious!