In this day and age, who doesn't want to save a little dough when you're at the check out counter at your local grocery store? With the popular rise of the reality show Extreme Couponing, I think American's, myself included, are looking for creative ways to save some money. Although couponing, like they do on the show, is not my forte there are some time efficient, practical things we can do to save ourselves some money.
One of the easiest things, which until recently I didn't think was very easy, is to cut up your own chicken. The fact is, buying whole fryers is much more economical then buying chicken that has been pre-cut and pre-packaged in the pieces we need. Plus, you can use the remaining parts of the chicken to make your own chicken stock at home, another pricey item that is often on most grocery lists. With some tips from my mom and a little online research I felt ready to take on the challenge. It literally took me less than 10 minutes to do and I guarantee you, you will use this skill over and over again. Fear chicken no more!
Begin by prepping your workspace, lay a piece of parchment paper over your butcher's block for easy clean up (I got that tip from Martha).
Next, you will need the proper tools, a sharp knife that you are comfortable with (I used my 7" Santoku, and sharp kitchen shears.
Hello chicken! Place the chicken on your work surface, use paper towels to pat the chicken dry if it is wet.
Flip the chicken over and grab the tail bone, using your kitchen shears cut alongside of the chicken's back bone all the way up.
Now, use the kitchen shears and move to the other side, cut along the back bone on the opposite side. The goal is to remove the backbone in one long piece.
Ta-Dah! Discard this piece, or place in a ziploc and freeze to use for stock preparation later.
Now that the back bone is gone, lay your chicken flat. Find the breast bone and cut the chicken into two halves right down the breast bone. You can use your knife or shears for this step, I find a knife much easier for getting through the breast bone.
Now you have 2 1/2 chicken portions. Yay!
Working with one half of the chicken, the next step is to remove the appendages.
Sorry about the blurry shot, well actually, Jim is sorry about it. Find the connection where the thigh is connected to the body and cut just a little bit above that. If done correctly, the chicken thigh and leg should cut away easily in one piece and without a fight.
Lift up the wing flap and cut right where the wing is attached to the body. Again, the wing should come off pretty easily, if you're having trouble, feel around the flap and breast pieces until you find an area near the connection that seems easy to cut through. There will be a bit of a "discovery" your first time around.
Repeat with the other 1/2 chicken.
You now have six pieces, 2 breast pieces, 2 wings, and 2 thighs with legs attached.
To turn your six pieces of chicken into eight, separate the thighs and legs. Cut right above the socket where the leg is attached. You may need to break the socket by bending the leg piece until you hear it crack for easier cutting. Repeat with the other piece.