Do you know how to quarter a whole chicken? Buying a whole chicken is more economical than buying its parts. You can easily quarter it yourself at home and then roast the carcass and turn it into chicken soup and stock. Master these few steps to quarter your own chicken and you will stretch your dollars much further. You can cook these parts all at once, or you can wrap the meat properly and store it in the freezer for up to 9 months. 

How to Quarter a Chicken

How to Quarter a Chicken

Lay your chicken breast-side up on a cutting board, with the legs facing you.

Gently pull one leg away from the breast and, using a sharp knife, cut at the loose skin in swift, long motions to reveal the joint. Grab the leg with your hand and bend it back so that the joint pops and is revealed.

How to Quarter a Chicken

Use your knife to cut through the joint and skin along the back, and cut through as close to the spine as possible; ideally you will be cutting away the oyster, which is the round, tender bit of meat along the spine, along with the leg. Repeat this with the other leg.

How to Quarter a Chicken

Cut the breast by running your knife along the breastbone from the neck opening to the bottom opening. Work the tip of the knife in long, swift motions along the breastbone, slowing pulling back the meat with your other hand until it is only hanging on to the wing.

Using the heel of your knife, press down and cut through the joint of the wing and release the whole breast with the wing attached.

How to Quarter a Chicken

How to Quarter a Chicken

If you wish, you can then cut these quarters into eighths. For the breast, simply cut horizontally on a bias halfway between the wing and pointed end of the breast. For the leg, separate the drumstick from the thigh at the natural seam and bend of the leg.

Do you ever do any of your own butchering? Share with me in the comments or on Facebook and Instagram.

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Georgia Pellegrini

Growing up on her family’s farm in upstate New York, Georgia developed a passion for simple farm-to table food and a deep connection to the outdoors. Having worked in the finance world after college, she decided to leave her cubicle and reconnect with her roots. After graduating from the French Culinary Institute, she began working in Michelin restaurants in New York and France, and soon started leading her renowned Adventure Getaways: excursions around the country aimed at promoting “manual literacy” and helping participants step outside of their comfort zone and experience life more viscerally. Georgia is a firm believer in empowering people to be self-sufficient, identify personal strengths and pursue their life passions.