It is certainly worth learning how to joint a chicken, not only will it mean that you can reduce your meat costs as whole chickens are far cheaper than chicken cuts, but it will also help you to get the full value out of the bird making the most of each piece.
You should think of your chicken as four large portions; the breast, drumstick, thigh and wings. Leaving you with just the carcass of the bird. Whilst this doesn’t have lots of meat left on it, it should not be forgotten as part of your meal as it will provide valuable extra flavour for future stocks and broths.
What you’ll need
- A robust knife with a firm and sharp blade
- A sturdy wooden chopping board (pop a damp towel underneath to keep it in place)
How to joint a chicken
Remove the wings. Place the whole chicken, breast up, on your chopping board. Pull the wing out straight away from the bird. With your knife, with one firm downward cut, as close to the body as possible, chop the wing away from the bird.
Remove the legs. Pull the leg away from the body and slice through the skin between the breast and the thigh. Then push the leg downwards until the ball of the thigh bone tears away from the socket. Cut through all attaching sinews and the leg should come away easily.
Divide the legs into drumstick and thigh. Feel with your fingers the joint in the leg, slice cleanly through this join and you will end up with a portion of thigh and drumstick.
Remove the breast. Feel the carcass bone down the centre of the breast. Turn your knife to a slight angle and make a long cut against the bone, you should now be able to see how close you are to the carcass. Using your fingers you will be able to gently pull the breast away from the carcass - keeping as little meat on the carcass as possible. With your knife carefully cut away the bottom of the breast following all the way around the bird, past the wishbone, until the breast has come free. You can also separate the fillet from the breast to create another meal. This will gently tare away from the breast.
This technique can be applied to all poultry.