Wüsthof America

How to Butcher a Chicken

Butchering a whole chicken is easy if you have the right tools. Let Camas teach you how to prepare a bird for cooking by cutting right down the lines.

Step 1

Begin with your chicken breast side up. Using your boning knife, cut away at the loose skin between the legs/thighs and the main carcass using just the tip of your knife. Once you have released that skin on both sides, grab the leg and push it downward toward the cutting surface in order to pop the leg joint upward toward the bread. You’ll see a small seam of fat between the carcass and the thigh/leg portion that runs along where that leg joint popped out. Follow along that seam to separate the leg/thigh from the carcass.

Step 2

Perform a similar set of steps to separate the wings from the main carcass. Use the tip of your boning knife to separate the loose skin between the wings and the carcass. Expose the shoulder joints, then reveal the seam and follow it with your knife to cut away the wings.

Step 3

Now separate the backbone from the two breasts. Placing the bird on its tail, work the knife around the back, making two main cuts on either side of the back, between the rib cage and where the shoulder joints once were. Reserve the back and rib bones for making stock.

Step 4

You are left with two attached breasts. For boneless breasts, position the piece so that the breasts are facing up. Make a long cut down the middle of the breastbone, then fillet the breasts off of the breast plate. Or, for bone-in breasts, turn the piece so that the breasts are facing down toward your cutting surface. Using a cleaver, cleave the breasts in half along the middle of the breast plate. Use your boning knife to finish the cut if necessary.