Does the thought of preparing a whole chicken send you running for the rotisserie section of the grocery store? Not everyone grew up in a home where preparing an entire bird was a regular event. If you want to learn how to cook and cut a whole chicken, we’ve got you covered.
There are plenty of reasons to learn this kitchen technique. It gives you better control over what goes into your meal. For example, you can season or flavor the chicken using only healthy clean eating ingredients. Learn more in 10 Clean Eating Tips- Do’s and Don’ts. Buying a whole chicken also saves money because it’s less pricey than buying in pieces. Do you know these 10 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget?
How To Cut Up A Whole Chicken
It might seem intimidating the first time you try it, but cutting up a whole chicken is actually quite simple. You can cut it before or after cooking. However, if you’re making a stew or placing it in a slow cooker, cutting before cooking is ideal.
These instructions are for an uncooked, thawed chicken, but you can follow the same basic steps if it’s already cooked.
- Place the chicken on a cutting board, with the breasts pointing toward the ceiling.
- Pull each leg away from the body. Slice between the drumstick and breast.
- Turn the chicken on its side and bend the leg back until the thighbone is out of the socket. Cut through the joint to detach the leg. Repeat on the other side.
- Repeat the previous step to detach the wings.
- Slice down the middle of the chicken’s rib cage and shoulders to separate it from the back. The bones (along with the wings, if you don’t use them in your recipe) can be used to make chicken stock.
- Split the center of the breast and slice through it to create 2 separate pieces.
- Cut the remaining meat into the desired number of pieces.
Perhaps the most common way to cook a whole chicken, and the easiest, is to roast it in the oven. To fully cook the bird, bake it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Rotate it, and then turn the heat up to 450 degrees for another 10-15 minutes. Cooking times may vary depending on the size of the bird.
Any grill will work, but gas grills usually provide more even cooking. Preheat the grill. Rinse the chicken in cool water and season it how you like. Place it, breast side up, over indirect heat. Direct heat will cook the outside too quickly, leaving you with underdone chicken on the inside. Putting the bird over indirect heat slows down the process enough to get it cooked through evenly.
Although you can use a high or low setting, the low setting is usually recommended. Place the chicken in the slow cooker, breast-side down, and cook on low for about 6-8 hours or until it has an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Try it with this yummy Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Roast. If you haven’t discovered the awesomeness of slow cooking yet, check out 21 Slow Cooking Tips. Before long, this appliance will be one of your favorite kitchen tools!
Don’t let fears about how to cook and cut a whole chicken turn you into a chicken! Take control of your health and grocery budget by adding this technique to your kitchen can-do list.
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