How to joint a chicken

Chicken and chef's knife on a chopping board

ometimes it may be far more convenient to buy a piece of chicken for a meal, however do you realise how much of a premium you are paying to have someone joint a chicken for you? Whenever I am at the supermarket I always will look at the cost per gram rather than cost per packet of an item. While also looking at quality of produce, I’m also ensuring I am always buying the best value option available. Buying a whole chicken may seem expensive, but per gram it is by far the most cost effective way to purchase chicken meat, especially if the giblets are included. Even if I don’t want to cook the whole bird right away, I’ll always buy the whole chicken and I advise you to do the same.

You can easily fridge or freeze the other pieces until you need them. The best part of all, you can easily make a stock which can be used in all sorts of soups, risottos, sauces, gravies and much more. Once I’ve made a stock, I will keep a small bowl in the fridge to use right away and then freeze small portions to defrost whenever necessary to add extra depth of flavour to my dishes.

Make sure your knives are sharp before starting. You will need a large and sturdy chopping board and a sharp chefs knife. You can also use a boning knife, carving knife or butchers knife but a chefs knife is a good allrounder.

Step 1

Remove the chicken from its packaging and place on your chopping board. Start by removing the legs. To do this, gently cut the skin between the leg and the breast at the top, then put your knife down. Hold the leg firmly in one hand and place your other hand on the breast. Bend the leg backwards until it pops out of the joint. Now take your knife and cut between the joint. Now do the same on the other side.

Cut between the joint

Step 2

Find the joint between the thigh and drumstick with your fingers on one of the legs. Find the gap between the hinge joint, then cut through the joint with your knife. Now repeat with the other leg.

Step 3

Removing the wing is similar but not quite as easy but is simple with practice. The joint is located under the breast. Stretch out the wing then angle your knife in towards the bird at an angle down. Cut in until you get to the joint then cut down. Now repeat with the other wing.

Cut in and down through the joint between the wing and the breast

Step 4

Turn the bird so that the front of the breast is facing towards you. Feel down the top to find the breast bone. Run your knife slowly and firmly down one side of the breast bone towards you. When you reach the wishbone at the front, hold your knife tightly and place other hand on top of the knife. Firmly bring the knife down to cut through the wishbone in one motion. Now you can slowly start cutting the breast away from the birds ribcage. Take your time slowly cutting along the bone in repeated motions from back to front. Repeat on the other side.

At this point you will have removed all the pieces from the bird. Don’t worry if you haven’t removed every scrap of meat from the carcass as it will just add flavour to your stock.

I like to remove the drumstick knuckles and wingtips from the legs and wings too and add to my stock with the carcass.

Carcass and chicken pieces on chopping board
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