Don't let a little ol' chicken scare you! Breaking down a whole chicken is way easier than you think.
Buying a whole chicken is way more economical. If you don't want to roast your chicken here's how to break it down.
Lay the Whole chicken on its back breasts up. If the neck is still intact cut between the breast tissue in the bottom of the neck and then between the bones in the cartilage. (Save for broth later)
Grab the wings and wiggle them around to find out where the shoulder joint is. Using a sharp knife cut next to the breast me along the ball joint. Repeat on the other side.
Pull the leg away from the body cut through the skin first and then feel for the ball joint between the breast in the leg. Continue to pull the leg and wiggle the knife a bit to determine and cut where the leg meets the socket. Repeat on the other side. At this point you will have what we call "thigh quarters"
To remove the backbone I like to use EMT scissors. You can also use kitchen shears or a sharp knife carefully! Start at the head end and move along the backbone cutting through the rib cage on one side and then the other. Don't throw this part away! (save for broth later)
To cut the breast in half place the whole breast skin side down. This will expose the breastbone. For safety reasons I like to use my EMT scissors or kitchen scissors again here. If you would like a more clean-cut place a heavy sharp knife along the breastbone. Cut through the reddish breastbone and whitish cartilage down the center of the breast.
You've done it! Now you have successfully broken down your whole chicken into six pieces!
Five ways to use a whole chicken throughout your week
Monday weeknight roast chicken (eat the chicken breast for dinner tonight along with some vegetables roasted in the oven with the chicken), set aside your thighs and debone the rest of the chicken to make your broth.
Tuesday crispy chicken thighs with garlicky spinach
Wednesday sausage and zucchini soup made with slow cooker chicken stock
Thursday sweet corn risotto made with the rest of the chicken stock
Friday scrambled egg tacos to use up all the leftovers
*Save all bones from your meals, neck, and backbone for tasty bone broth! More to come on bone broth.
Please check out our Chicken CSA to save on pastured chicken this year. EXTRA bonus...it can be delivered straight to you.