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Buying a whole chicken is almost always a better bang for your buck. Why? Because in addition to getting the white breast meat we all adore, you can also make a mean meal of roasted chicken legs—and a fresh broth bursting with flavor from its bones.
But some of us will avoid buying the whole chicken because we’re too intimidated to butcher it ourselves. No more: Food & Wine Culinary Director Justin Chapple has given us the simple steps we need to take to butcher a chicken using kitchen shears.
In this new Mad Genius Tips video, Chapple says, “I am gifting you this Mad Genius Tip so that you can skip all that precut chicken and butcher your own.” Here’s how:
First, grab a sturdy pair of kitchen shears and a cutting board. Place the chicken face up on the cutting board, and cut off its wings. (You’ll do that by snipping the space between the chicken’s drummette and wingette, Chapple says.) Make sure you save the wings for your next wing night. They’ll go great with one of these sauce recipes.
Next, flip the chicken over and cut out the backbone by cutting down each side of the bone. Try to “stay as close to the backbone as possible so that you preserve the meat around it.,” Chapple says, before adding that you can save the bone and use it for chicken stock. (Here’s a little light reading on why bones can make such good stocks.)
Now, flip the chicken back over, flatten it against the cutting board with your palms, and remove its legs with the shears by cutting along the seam between the legs and breasts. “You can see it naturally pulls away,” Chapple says as he cuts the legs off.
Last, cut between the two breasts, separating them. Voila! You’ve now butchered a whole chicken, saving yourself money and adding to your weekly recipe repertoire.