Whole chickens cost much less per pound. Precut meat is often poorly trimmed and you get less meat per pound.
This picture shows a whole
chicken cut into 10 pieces.
(a) legs; (b) thighs; (c) wings; (d) part of back portion; (e) tail end of
back portion; (f) breasts
How to cut up a chicken.
This is a basic method for cutting up and disjointing a whole chicken with the least amount of waste.
Place the chicken breast side up on a solid cutting board. Pull one
leg away from the body and cut through the skin between the body and
both sides of the thigh.
Bend the whole leg firmly away from the body until the ball of the
thighbone pops from the hip socket. Cut between the ball and the
socket to separate the leg. Repeat with the other leg.
Place the chicken leg skin side down on the cutting board. Cut down
firmly through the joint between the drumstick and the thigh.
With chicken on it's back, remove wing by cutting inside of wing just
over joint. Pull wing away from body and cut from down through the
skin and the joint. Repeat with the other wing.
Cut carcass in
Cut through the cavity of the bird from the tail end and slice through
the thin area around the shoulder joint. Cut parallel to the backbone
and slice the bones of the rib cage. Repeat on the opposite side of
Pull apart the breast and the back. Cut down trough the shoulder bones
to detach the breast from the back. Cut the back into two pieces by
cutting across the backbone where the ribs end.
Cut breast in
You may leave the breast whole if your recipe requires. To cut in in
half, use a strong, steady pressure and cut downward along the length
of the breastbone to separate the breast into two pieces.