How to Butcher a Chicken

chicken butchering

Butchering a chicken can be a daunting task for the first time. But doing so can stretch your dollar even further just in time for the holidays. Follow this simple procedure and you'll soon be giving your local butcher a run for his money!

Editor's Note: For this walkthrough it's assumed that the chicken has been de-feathered. 

What You Need:
A boning knife
A cleaver or large chef's knife

Upon getting your whole chicken home from the butcher, ensure that you remove any strings or loose feathers that you can see. Rinse the chicken under cold water to remove any surface impurities that are invisible to the naked eye. Lightly pat dry before continuing. 

Place the chicken on its back on the cutting board. If your chicken has feet, grab the foot and bend the knee toward the cutting board while slicing into the top of the joint with your boning knife. You shouldn't have to apply a lot of force, as you are slicing between the bones. Lightly saw the ligaments while bending the joint. After some time, it should easily separate. Repeat for the other foot. 

To remove the head, get your cleaver or chef's knife ready and line up your cut. You should try to remove the neck and head from the base. Aim for a look similar to what's pictured. Lift your cleaver up approximately four inches from the desired cut location and bring it down with force. If it doesn't go through on the first try, repeat the process. 

Once the head is removed, trim any excess neck skin. Then stick your hand inside the neck opening and remove anything possible. Feel for a small sac near the base of the neck on the underside of the breast. Remove it. 

The final step is to reach inside the rear opening of the chicken and pull out all the innards. It may be useful to use the boning knife for portions of this, but in most cases it should come out easily. 

Butchering a chicken isn't that difficult and in the long run can save you money. All you have to do is grin and bare the more unpleasant parts. If someone you know likes to hunt, you can help them out now with the proper technique. 

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