1. To halve a chicken: place a chicken on a cutting board with the breasts facing down. Make a cut at the base of the neck and slice all the way down the body, along the spine. Remove the gizzards and giblets and set aside. Carefully work the knife down the other side of the spine, until the spine can be removed completely. Set aside. Open the chicken up wider, and use the knife to cut directly between the breasts. Press firmly to cut through the cartilage. Slice all the way through to the bottom. 00:20
2. To remove the wings: flip over the chicken halves so the skin is facing up. On one half, locate the joint in the middle of the wing. Slice through to remove the drumette. Repeat on the opposite side. 02:47
3. To quarter a chicken: Use your finger to locate the space between the breast and the thigh. Cut through to separate. Trim the excess skin and set aside. Repeat on the opposite side. 03:32
4. To segment a whole chicken: Place the chicken on a cutting board, breast-side up. Remove the neck and the giblets from the body cavity and set aside. Trim off excess skin. Pull the wings out from the body and slice through the joint on both sides. Set aside. Locate the separation point between the thigh and the breast and slice through, following the bone. Continue to slice until the knife reaches the point where the thigh meets the spine. Pull the joint until it cracks, and slice all the way though. Rotate the chicken and repeat on the opposite side. 06:04
5. To remove the breasts: use the tip of the boning knife to cut through the center of the breasts. Use slow, smooth strokes to cut all the way to the bone. Angle the knife to carve along the ribs under one breast, cutting towards the outside of the body. Cut through the joint and remove the breast. Repeat on the opposite side. Flip over each breast so the skin faces down, and slice under the bone to remove the drumette. 09:35
7. Alternately, set the leg and thigh on a cutting board, skin-side down. Cut through the joint connecting the two pieces. Set the leg aside. Set the thigh skin-side down, and begin to score the meat long either side of the bone. Continue cutting around the bone until it can be removed comepletely. 15:57
10. To separate the leg and thigh: score the thigh meat along the bone. Locate the top joint and scrape the knife along the bone. Continue scraping down the bone until the lower joint is exposed. Carefully cut to separate it form the meat. Set the bone aside. Cut through the space between the leg and the thigh. 14:06
What You'll Need
- Cutting board
- Boning knife
- Sheet tray
- Chicken, whole
These techniques can be applied to chicken, turkey, duck, or any other kind of poultry, as their anatomies are very similar. Chef Bryon recommends practicing on chicken when first attempting these techniques because it is a manageable size and relatively inexpensive.
The “gizzard” is an organ located in the digestive tract of chickens. “Giblets” refers to the edible organs inside the chicken including the heart, the liver, the neck, and the gizzard.
Reserve the bones and carcass to create flavorful, multi-purpose stocks. To learn more about making stocks, visit Chef Ben Lee's "How to Make Chicken Stock" tutorial located at the bottom of the page.