Most chicken recipes call for chicken parts or pieces. Here are a few steps for cutting a whole chicken into 8 pieces (compiled from several websites including Good Housekeeping and Eating Well): two split breasts, two thighs, two drumsticks and two wings.
You’ll also be left with a backbone that can be discarded or used as a starter for a delicious soup or stock.
- Place the whole chicken, breast side up, on a clean cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut between the thigh and body to the hip joint.
- Bend the leg back slightly to free the hip joint from the socket. Cut through the hip joint and remove the leg. Repeat to remove other leg.
- Place one of the legs, skin side down, on the cutting board. Locate the joint by moving the thigh back and forth with one hand while holding the drumstick with the other hand. Cut completely through the joint. Repeat with remaining leg. Set thighs and drumsticks aside.
- Now, place the chicken on its side. Pull one wing out from the body; cut through the shoulder joint. Turn the chicken over and repeat with other wing. Set wings aside.
- Using a poultry shears, cut the breast from the backbone. Working from the tail to the end of the neck, cut through the rib cage along one side of the backbone. Repeat on the other side to remove the backbone in one piece.
- Place the entire breast, skin side down, on the cutting board. Cut the breast in half by placing the knife along one side of the breastbone. Be sure to cut all the way through the bone and meat. Trim away any excess fat.