Knowing how to cut up a whole chicken is a valuable skill for any home cook. Not only does it save you money, but it also allows you to use the whole chicken for a variety of different dishes. In this article, we will discuss the step-by-step process of cutting up a whole chicken, the essential tools and equipment required, how to prepare the chicken before cutting it up, the different approaches to cutting up a whole chicken and the different cuts and techniques for slicing the chicken. Lastly, we will discuss various ways to serve and store the chicken cuts.
II. Step-by-Step Guide
Before starting, it is important to have a detailed guide on how to cut up a whole chicken to avoid accidents and injuries. Begin by placing the chicken on a clean cutting board, breast-side up, with the legs facing you. The first step is to cut off the wings and legs.
Using a sharp chef’s knife or poultry shears, cut off both wings at the joint. Then, pull one leg away from the body and cut through the skin between the thigh and breast, cutting along the bone until the joint is exposed. Cut through the joint to remove the leg. Repeat on the other side.
The next step is to remove the breasts. Place your knife at the base of the breastbone, and cut down along one side of the breastbone, pulling the breast away from the bone as you cut. Repeat on the other side. You should now have four pieces: two breasts and two legs.
III. Equipment & Tools
Having the right equipment and tools is essential for cutting up a whole chicken. Essential tools include a sharp chef’s knife, poultry shears, and a cutting board. You may also want to invest in a boning knife for deboning the chicken.
When it comes to equipment, a large, sturdy cutting board is a must. It should be able to withstand the weight of the chicken and allow enough space for you to work comfortably. Additionally, having a pair of kitchen scissors or poultry shears will make trimming the chicken easier and quicker.
IV. Preparing for Cuts
Before cutting up a whole chicken, it is important to prepare the chicken properly. Begin by removing any giblets or excess fat from the chicken cavity. Next, rinse the chicken thoroughly under cold water, pat dry with paper towels and trim any excess skin and fat.
You may also want to season or marinate the chicken before cutting it up. This gives the chicken time to absorb the flavors and makes it more tender and juicy. Simply apply the seasoning or marinade to both sides of the chicken, cover and place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight for maximum flavor.
V. Approach to Cuts
There are several approaches to cutting up a whole chicken, including cutting it into parts, breaking it down into portions, or skinning and deboning it. The best approach depends on your preference and the recipe you plan to use.
If you plan to cook the chicken in different ways, then cutting it into parts is your best bet. This method involves cutting the chicken into eight parts: two wings, two thighs, two legs, and two breasts. Breaking the chicken down into portions involves cutting each breast and leg into two pieces. Lastly, skinning and deboning involves removing the skin and bones from the chicken altogether.
VI. Cutting Styles and Techniques
When it comes to cutting up a whole chicken, it is important to use the correct cutting styles and techniques to ensure the chicken is cooked evenly and properly. Begin by identifying the bones and joints and cutting around them.
There are several types of cuts, including straight cuts, slicing cuts, and cutting with shears. Straight cuts are essential for dividing large areas of meat into smaller portions, while slicing cuts are great for carving smaller, individual portions. Cutting with shears is ideal for trimming the chicken and can save time and effort.
VII. How to Serve and Store Cuts
There are several ways to serve chicken cuts, including roasting, frying, and grilling. Once the chicken is cooked, it is important to store it properly to ensure its flavor and freshness.
If you plan to cook the chicken within a few days, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge. For longer storage, consider freezing the chicken by wrapping each piece in plastic wrap and placing them in airtight containers or freezer bags.
Learning how to cut up a whole chicken is a valuable skill for any home cook. Understanding the step-by-step process, having the necessary equipment and tools, knowing how to prepare the chicken and choosing the right approach to cutting the chicken, will make the process easier and safer. Now that you know how to cut up a whole chicken, try preparing it yourself and experiment with different cuts and recipes.