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Get the most poultry for your dollar by buying a whole chicken and cutting it into parts yourself.



A whole raw chicken on a wood cutting board with a sliced lemon and garlic.


Step 1 - Remove the leg quarters: Cut through the skin between the thigh and body. Bend thigh back until hip joint breaks. Cut through joint, separating the leg from the body. To separate the thigh and drumstick, slit the skin above the knee joint, break the joint, and then cut apart. Repeat on other side.


Step 2 - Remove the wings: Pull one wing away from the body. Slit the skin between the wing and body. Bend the wing back until the joint breaks. Cut through the joint. Repeat on the other side.


Step 3 - Separate the breast from the back: Cut along the breast end of the ribs on one side, cutting toward the neck to separate the breast from the back. Repeat on the other side. Bend front and back halves apart. Cut through neck joints that  connect halves.


Step 4 - Halve the back: To divide the back in half, hold the piece at each end Bend the ends toward the skin inside until the bones break. Cut the back in half where the bones are broken. Cut off the tail.


Step 5 - Halve the breast: To divide the breast in half, but lengthwise along breastbone or, to divide breast in half crosswise, grasp breast at each end and bend toward the skin side to break bones. Cut between the wishbone and the breastbone.


Quick Tips

  • Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces, cutting boards and utensils thoroughly with soap and hot water before and immediately after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry, including frozen and fresh products.
  • Hands should be washed before handling food and between handling different food items with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use a sharp, sturdy knife.
  • Do not rinse raw poultry in your sink – it will not remove bacteria. In fact, it can spread raw juices around your sink, onto your countertops or onto ready-to-eat foods. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry can only be killed when cooked to a safe internal temperature.
  • Do not use a wooden cutting board for meats or poultry- they are hard to get clean.
  • Sanitize cutting board after cutting up chicken by washing in dishwasher or by following these steps:
    • Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water.
    • Pour the bleach solution over cutting board and keep wet for 2 minutes.
    • Rinse and let cutting board air dry.
    • Sanitize anything you touched with dirty hands while cutting up the bird.
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