Cutting Up A Whole Chicken in 5 Easy Steps

When we first started raising meat birds I found myself stuck in the mindset of needing to cook the whole bird and IF I had a recipe that needed only breast meat...I would go buy it!  


We sell our broiler chickens whole, and I realized that sometimes you don't know how to use it any other way.  But you can!  Here is our how to cut up a whole chicken guide because education is power after all! 

Usually, the best chicken breast I can find in SOME stores is Organic.  It's not corn and soy free, it's not pastured so you're missing out on all the vitamins and minerals that the chicken gets from grass, and it's not necessarily local.

When you have perfectly good breast meat right here, WHY go buy it?

For me, it was a lack of know how!  I didn't feel confident, and I decided I'm probably not the only one...hence this little tutorial.

Now I do several birds in one day so that I can stockpile breast meat, wings or thighs and save time when I'm ready to cook dinner.

Confident.  Capable.  Knowledgeable.

Important skills when you are the woman of the house!

I don't know if it's just the homesteader woman in me or what, but I like knowing how to do it ALL!

I really appreciate my husband and the duties he covers on a daily basis.  I also like knowing how to shoot a gun, run the skid steer, manage the chores and cut up a chicken.

Benefits of Knowing How To Cut Up a Whole Chicken

  •  Your meals can be more customizable
  • One less trip to the grocery store 
  • You don't have to compromise on quality
  • You have the carcass and bones to make nutritious healing bone broth.
  • You feel like SUPERWOMAN! (or a manly man)

5 Easy Steps To Cutting Up A Whole Chicken

1.     Thaw the bird at room temp for up to 24 hours before.  If it thaws quickly, put it in the fridge until you are ready to do the cutting.

2.     Find yourself a sharp SHARP knife.  I like Cutco knives and like using a nonserrated knife for this job.  A sharp knife will make this job a breeze.

3.     Remove the wing by cutting at the joint.  You shouldn't have to slice through bone if you find the joint and slip your knife right in between the ball and socket.  Start where the wing joins the body of the bird, make your cut.  Next cut the drumstick from the wing.  Finally cut the wing tip off.  Separate these into 3 different piles: wings, drumsticks, wing tips.

4.     Remove the thigh and drumstick.  Start with the breast of the bird facing up.  Cut through the skin closest to the bird's body so that you can fold the leg out exposing the hip joint.  Look for the ball and socket again and cut the thigh off.  Next, find the joint between the drumstick and thigh and make a cut there too.  Repeat on the other side. The drumstick and thigh are considered the dark meat.

5.     Remove breast meat.  Find the breastbone and cut on one side or the other.  When you come to wishbone you can point your knife straight down and press, chopping through this tiny little Y shaped bone.  Remove it from your breast meat.  You can also choose to remove the cutlet, which is the thin mini breast on the backside of the main breast, or leave it on.  Repeat on the other side.  This is your white meat.

Voila! That's it!  This super easy process will give you every cut of chicken you need!

How to get pastured chickens

If you're looking for healthy and delicious chickens we would love to have you out to our farm!  We have chickens in stock now but we may run out soon.  We raise them only once a year when grass conditions are premium and June will be the next time they are available.

Click here for our farm store hours