Can You Cut Up A Chicken?

Another getting to know you post.

While I was in Maine our small town/small university hosted Joel Salatin as keynote speaker of the Oregon Rural Action Annual Convention.  Several friends went and I’m soaking up their reactions.  Katie, an honorary member of our family, typed up her notes and sent them to me. 

This bit grabbed me:

50 years ago, all the mothers knew how to cut up a chicken —
now 50% of them don’t know that chickens have BONES!

It took me back to an afternoon (I was probably 11 or 12) when my father patiently taught me how to cut up a chicken. Sharp knife and all.  I remember having to feel for the joints between the leg and body and the joints between the thigh and drumstick.  The hardest part to master, as I remember, was cutting down the middle to divide the back from the breast.  You had to honk down kind of hard to cut through the bone.


Who knows how to cut up a chicken? (I have to admit, none of my children learned from me since we started eating boneless breasts.)  Note to myself: teach youngest son how to cut up a chicken.

How did you learn? 

Any stories out there?

Do tell!



15 thoughts on “Can You Cut Up A Chicken?

  1. I learned to cook from television cooking shows…Frugal Gourmet & Julia Child.  Juila taught me how to cut up a raw chicken…and (in theory, never done it) how to gut a fish through the gills! Ha!  I also had a good book written by a butcher right around the same time as I was learning from Jeff & Julia.  It taught me a lot of wonderful tips on buying and preparing meats.  Wish I still had it, but it went in an early “make room on the shelves” purge.

  2. I am shocked to find brief nudity on your blog. Cover up the poor chicken!! It has been years since I cut one up. I learned to do hundreds of chickens at a time when I worked at a summer camp. Almost lost my appetite for it completely.

  3. Oh, I was very rushed when I commented before but we are very jealous that EOU was hosting Joel Salatin!!  La Bella told me that he is giving a lecture at Stanford in February so hopefully we will be there!Did you take the picture?  Inquiring minds want to know!!

  4. I cut a whole chicken after it’s been either roasted and falling apart on the bone or made into a soup and again, falling off the bone. I’ve never cut up a raw one before.  

  5. I learned how to cut up a chicken sometime soon after I got married–probably from Julia Child or Christopher Kimball.  I wanted to make my own chicken stock and buying a whole bird was the cheapest way to go.  Now it’s part of my weekly cooking routine.  Nathalie Dupree!  Dana–I’m impressed.

  6. my first chicken experience: seeing a chicken running around without head, wondering about how the feathers are going to come off, smelling the feathers being removed… mentally decided not to think about where chicken meat comes from… first cutting experience (book in hand or rather on table)….chicken ended as pie not as pie(ces)… i can do it but not expertly – solution: buy whole chicken when I need whole chicken, buy pieces when I need pieces – voila, chicken a la king!i still detest it when i buy chicken and the feathers are not completely removed…. you can hear that i’m not a country gal… i still need to do the chicken stock thing… 

  7. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know how to cut up a chicken or a deer or an elk or any other critter drug home by the Great White Hunter (my Dad).Not only did I learn how to cut them up but there is that whole head chopping, feather plucking, hair scorching, cut, wrap and eventually cook it thing going on! I do have to admit that it’s nice to get one already cut up from the store!

  8. I learned to cut up whole chickens from the Desperation Duo cooks (cookbook authors).  I use sharp kitchen shears, but I do this AFTER it is cooked. It’s admittedly not my favorite job, and I’ll often pay a little more to buy chicken that is already cut up.

  9. I had my mom teach me when I was in high school after I overheard someone commenting on a particular bride being unable to cut up a chicken.  I hate messing with dead chicken, I always want to bleach the entire kitchen and myself when I am done.  We get our chicken frozen as breasts. 

Comments are cinnamon on my oatmeal!

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