Perfect to learn if you’re on a budget
- Large, sharp knife
- Small, sharp knife
- Chopping board
- Plate for jointed pieces of chicken
Don’t be afraid to joint
I’ll admit, this is my first time jointing a chicken.
I thought it was a worthwhile skill to undertake as it’s cheaper to buy a whole chicken and joint it, than buy separate chicken pieces in the supermarket.
You will maximise the chicken far better if you joint it yourself.
And you can use this same skill to carve a chicken at your next Sunday Roast.
(btw, if it totally freaks you out… just ask the butcher to joint it for you!)
The main thing you need, is a really sharp knife.
Then just follow the instructions and pictures.
And remember, if it isn’t perfectly neat, no one will know once it’s been cooked!
Depending on the size of your chicken you can joint it into:
- 6 (i.e. breasts, wing, whole legs),
- 8 (i.e. breasts, wing, the legs cut into thighs and drumsticks),
- 10 (i.e. above but now the breasts cut in half).
Step 1: THE PARSON’S NOSE
Cut either side of the parson’s nose (*that’s the cookery name for the fatty extreme end portion of the tail of a fowl when cooked)
- Place the chicken breast side down on a board with the neck end away from you.
- Make a cut through the skin, down the middle of the carcass, from the neck end to just above the parson’s nose.
- Make a cut on either side of the parson’s nose.
Step 2: FIND THE OYSTERS
NB: You can skip this step if it’s a little fiddly.
But this is the jewel in the crown for a chicken and sometimes forgotten about unless a savvy foodie gets to the roast chicken and discovers them first.
The idea here, is to release them a little so when you remove the leg you cut it so the oyster is still attached.
- Make a cut across the top of the oysters, then release the sinew holding the oysters in place with your knife and release them with your thumb.
- NB: Some of my photo’s show the oyster cut out… this was to show what they look like but they would normally stay attached to the leg if you follow Step 2 & 3
Step 3: REMOVE THE LEGS
- By now, you should have flipped the chicken over so it is breast side up.
- Gently, slice the skin between the leg and body (you want to take more skin off the leg than the breast).
- Then push the leg down to ‘pop’ the thigh bone out of its socket.
- If you did Step 1 & 2, cut so under to to the Oysters so they are attached to the leg.
- (Repeat on the other side, then put to the side so you can come back to them to separate into thigh & drumstick)
- You could leave the chicken at that with your jointing and use this for a Sunday Roast i.e. the crown and the legs
- You get better results cooking the crown and the legs (in the same roasting pan) at the same time, than as a whole chicken.
Step 4: REMOVE THE BREASTS
- Simply cut down the sides of the breast bone following the contour of the rib cage until it comes clean away.
- (Repeat on the other side)
Make 4 joints into 8 pieces
You now have 4 joints:
- 2x legs – soon to be thigh & drumstick,
- 2x breast with wing (aka chicken supreme) – soon to be wing & breast.
Now Step 6 and 7 will break down the chicken into 8 pieces...
Step 6: SEPARATE BREASTS FROM WINGS
- Feel where the wing joint attaches to the breast and cut through it.
- Trim off the end wing (and keep for the stock pot).
- (NB: If you leave the wing attached to the breast, this is what’s called a chicken supreme).
Step 7: SEPARATE THIGHS FROM DRUMSTICKS
- Put the leg skin-side down.
- You will see a line of fat as a guide to cut through the joint (see left photo by knife).
- NB: If the knife comes into contact with the bone, move the knife a little to the left or right and try again. It should cut cleanly through the joint.
- (Repeat on the other side).
Voila! 8 pieces
KEEP THE CARCASS FOR STOCK
I hope you gave this a go and it’s like anything, practise makes perfect so I’m also going to do more jointing.
The day I did this, I put on the stock and then later that day used it in my Chicken Tagine with Olives and Lemons.
Delicious and a great sense of achievement having used all of the bird.
Got any tips on butchery? Drop me a comment.