How to: Butcher your own chicken
It’s the New Year, you’re looking to eat healthy but that new gym membership has tightened up the budget. What if I told you, that you can eat healthier and save some money in the process? Butcher your own chicken.
Why should I bother?
Butcher shops and supermarkets have to charge more for chickens that have already been cut up. They have to account for the labor involved. As a butcher I see customers purchasing a couple of items in the shop they could save a good deal of money. It just requires a small amount of work at home. For instance, pre-made burger patties and pre-cut chicken. I know there are some of you reading this saying, “Come on man the two aren’t comparable”. I’m here to tell you that if you can patty a burger you can butcher a chicken. In fact, I’ll wager it takes more time to weigh out the beef and then form a couple of patties than it does to butcher a chicken.
Along with saving money you get the pride and feeling of accomplishment of taking more control of the food you eat. As an added bonus you get the wingtips, bones, and carcass to make that fancy bone broth aka “stock” that you’ve always wanted. Many people are a bit intimidated by the whole process. I can assure you that after you get a few chickens finished you will start to gain confidence and carving up those yardbirds will become second nature.
The only tool you need is a sharp boning or filet knife. I made the video below to walk you through the process. Don’t worry if you mangle a few pieces on your first try. I promise you it still takes like chicken. However, If you are squeamish about the actual butchering I would encourage you to give it a try despite your reservations. As a society we’ve become conditioned to believe our food comes on styrofoam trays wrapped in plastic. Taking more control over your diet and connecting with your food is liberating.
How to Butcher a Chicken
- 1 Whole Chicken
With the breast facing up make a cut between the thigh and breast to separate the leg quarter. Repeat on the opposite side.
Once the leg quarters are removed find a small seam of fat at the thick end of the drumstick. Run your knife down this seam of fat to separate the drumstick from the thigh.
Roll the chicken on its side and pull back the wing away from the breast.
Make a circular cut against the breast around the "armpit" of the bird. This should remove the wing. Repeat on the opposite side.
To separate the wingette from the flat run your knife directly across the joint in the wing.
Remove the wingtip from the flat and save for stock
To remove the breast run your knife down the middle of the bird just on either side of the keel bone.
Once you get your cut started keep your knife as close to the keel bone as possible and slowly work your way down and free the breast from the carcass. Repeat on the opposite side.
Save the carcass along with the wingtips for a batch of chicken stock.