How to cut a chicken properly

How to cut a chicken properly

Cutting a chicken into perfect pieces takes a bit of practice. We’ve seen more than our fair share of bad chicken butchery. Make sure you know what you’re doing by following this guide.

Cutting chicken raw istock pic 21
Cutting chicken / iStock

Whole, raw chicken

Who better to go to for advice on breaking down a whole, raw chicken than chef extraordinaire, Gordon Ramsay. Watch Ramsay take apart a chicken cleanly, and what seems to be quite easily too, into eight perfect pieces. Another bonus is that there is no wastage with Ramsay’s method, and you’re left with a clean carcass to add to make a homemade chicken stock. Look at the video below.

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Whole, cooked chicken

Whether you’ve roasted a whole chicken, or bought a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, carving it can look like a difficult task if you’re not sure how to do it properly. We’ve all had those moments when the drumstick meat comes off the bone, or the breast has lost all of its crispy skin in the battle with the kitchen knife. Look at this video with Chef Andy explaining how to properly cut a roast chicken, while minimising waste and ensuring the chicken pieces look perfect.

Chicken cutting tips:

  • Use a sharp knife. Always remember that you must use a sharp, good quality knife. Trying to cut a raw or cooked chicken with a blunt knife or incorrect knife will result in a messy chicken and possibly a few cut fingers.
  • Keep it clean. Make sure to cut your chicken on a clean surface. Raw chicken should be cut on a board used specifically for meat products, while cooked chicken should be cut on a clean cutting surface. Ensure that your surface isn’t slippery as well, or you might injure yourself or send your chicken flying across the room.
  • Touch and learn. Knowing where the joints of the chicken are will make cutting a chicken so much easier. So, don’t be afraid to use your hands to feel the chicken and understand the joint placement. Just ensure that your hands are always clean before touching raw or cooked food.
  • Let it rest. If cutting a cooked bird, allow it to rest for up to 10 minutes before starting the carving process. Like a steak, chicken needs to rest as well before cutting into it, to complete the cooking process. If you do it sooner, you’ll lose those amazing juices inside the chicken and you’ll probably also burn your fingers quite badly trying to cut a fresh out of the oven bird.

READ: Healthy chicken meals for 2019

If the thought of carving and cutting your own chicken still seems a bit daunting, you can find the pieces you need at your local grocery store. Riversmead Farm supplies you with fresh and no added hormones whole chickens, to skinned and filleted chicken breasts, drumstick packs, trimmed and skinless and deboned thighs, and mixed braai packs among many others. Visit for more information.

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