Warning: If you don’t like pictures of raw meat, stop right here! You have been warned. This post is not for the squeamish. It is for people who like to start from scratch when making their food.
We hatched about 30 chicks in September–or rather, four of our hens did the hard work of keeping the eggs warm and hatching the chicks! Fifteen turned out to be roosters, and only one was wanted for future breeding. The rest were big enough by now to eat, and I didn’t want to move them to the new place, so we butchered them today. As I was cutting them up, I thought this would make a good post–maybe someone else wants to know how to cut up a chicken!
Start with a SHARP knife. Keep a steel close to keep a good edge on it. This is what will make or break your experience. I also like to have a wooden cutting board (anything else will dull your knife faster), and kitchen shears if I am splitting any breasts.
I separate the drumstick and thigh. There is a line of fat that goes across; cut through just on the drumstick side of that line and you’ll go right through the joint. You can also wiggle the joint to figure out where it is.
If you look closely, you should be able to see a line of white dots, where the upper ribs meet the lower ribs. Those white dots are the cartilage that joins the two parts of the ribs, and it is easy to cut between them there (saves your knife, too–hitting bone dulls a knife fast).
To split the breast in half, and have bone-in, skin-on breast pieces, take your sharp kitchen shears and cut through the breast bone and the wishbone. The breastbone is what I am cutting through here; the wishbone is lower. I cut through each separately.
To make boneless skinless breast, pull the skin off the meat. Then, cut along both sides of the keel bone, and down along each side of the wish bone. Here, I’ve cut along one side of the keel bone and the point of the knife is at the point of the wishbone.
After packaging: A tray of breast meat to freeze individually, then bag, and five meal’s worth of pieces. After I laid out the breast pieces, I remember that they need to be aged, so I put them in a bag and will lay them out again in three days. We always keep our chicken in the fridge for three days before freezing, so it is more tender.