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Old 02-25-2008, 09:54 PM   #1
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Whole chicken, cut up

I usually buy either whole chickens (to roast), or packaged chicken parts of the same kind (all thighs, drumsticks or breasts). Yesterday, I wanted to buy a package of cut up chicken parts from a whole hen. I was surprised to find that the store (a large chain) didn't have such an item. Fortunately, I found a butcher who offered to cut a chicken up for me.

Is this a trend that I missed? I clearly recall that grocery stores used to offer packages of whole chickens, cut up. I should have asked that the butcher, but didn't.

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Old 02-25-2008, 09:59 PM   #2
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Have you thought about cutting up your own? I don't buy chicken pieces anymore, I buy them whole and whack em up myself. It's really easy to do provided you have the right tools.
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:40 PM   #3
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what's that chef name? Yang or something? Yang can cook show. On the show he would recomend to buy the hole chicken and cut it at home. he would also show how it is done and how fast. I do no remember exactly, but for sure he'd do it in under a minute.
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:41 PM   #4
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P.S. Where I shop chickens come almost always cut up. I hate that. I love cutting my own chicken.
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:54 PM   #5
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I haven't seen packaged (whole) cut up chickens in the grocery store/market in too many years to count. I just cut my own.
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:54 PM   #6
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Next time, buy a whole chicken and try the following:

Chicken Surgery

It’s really not all that difficult.

Start with the wings. Cut through the skin and flesh around the joint where the wing meets the body. Lift up the chicken by the wing to make this a little easier. Grab the wing in one hand and the body in the other and bend the wing back to crack the joint. This will expose the location of the joint, making it fairly easy to spot. Using a sharp knife, cut through the joint, moving the knife around to find the path of least resistance. Repeat on the other side. Cut off the tip sections of the wings and save them for stock.

The process for the leg/thigh is generally the same.

Once the two leg/thighs are off the carcass, you can separate them at the leg/thigh joint. Look for a line of fat on the skinless side of the leg/thigh where the drumstick and thigh meet. This strip of fat marks the location of the joint. Cut along the line through the joint.

Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut along both sides of the backbone to separate it from the whole breast. Save the backbone for stock.

Place the chicken body on a cutting board, backbone side up, and spread the breasts apart and press them to the cutting board, so the carcass is flat and bone side up. Cut along the line where the ribs meet the breast (keel) bone and cut through the meat.

This will give you eight pieces (two each wings, thighs, legs and breasts.)

The key is to locate the joints so you can cut through them easily. Bending the joints back so they “break” makes that easier.
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:24 PM   #7
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And don't forget to save the carcass for stock!
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Old 02-26-2008, 12:27 AM   #8
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Andy M is right on track. If I had a nickle for every chicken I cut up I would be sitting on the beach drinking those funny drinks with a umbrella in them
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Old 02-26-2008, 12:47 AM   #9
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Funny drinks with the umbrella are fun to drink, Dave!

There's nothing I like better than butchering 2 chickens every weekend. I go to Whole Foods (or similar) get freshly slaughtered organic chicken, and butcher them that afternoon. A sharp boning knife is EXTREMELY recommended, the difference is night and day.

If you're looking to spend a bit of money on a quality boning knife, I would suggest the following: Hattori Forum High End Chefs Knives Japanese Knife,Japanese Kitchen Knife,Japanese Chef's Knives.Com

Or, for a bit cheaper:
VG Series Japanese Knife,Japanese Kitchen Knife,Japanese Chef's Knives.Com

The boning knife's are marked as such :)
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:44 AM   #10
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To add to Andy's post, here is a video

Basic cut-up chicken and Spatchcocking combined*

Video of chicken cutting

* the quality of this video has been decreased for broadcast over the internet. The full video on DVD is of a better quality. Thanks for your understanding.
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