ANATOMY OF A CHICKEN DISH
A whole chicken includes both white meat—breasts and wings—and dark meat—drumsticks and thighs. Different cuts are better suited for certain preparations. Here’s a guide on how to select the best cut for cooking.
Roasting or grilling a whole chicken is one of the easiest, hands-off ways to put a delicious dinner on the table. Buying a whole chicken is also your most economical option. You can cook and serve it whole, or you can divide up the cooked bird and use the meat in salads, sandwiches, soup, or other dishes. Or, you can cut up the raw chicken and use the various cuts for different recipes.
CARVING A WHOLE COOKED CHICKEN
To carve the chicken into serving pieces, place it breast side up on a carving board with a groove around the perimeter to collect the juices. Pull on a wing to locate the joint that connects it to the body, then, using a large, sharp knife, cut through the joint. Repeat with the other wing and transfer the wings to a serving platter. Next, move a drumstick to ﬁnd the hip joint, then remove the whole leg (drumstick and thigh) by cutting through the joint. Separate the thigh and drumstick by cutting through the joint that connects the two and transfer both pieces to the platter. Repeat with the other leg. Now, stand the chicken upright on the board and, using a large, heavy knife, cut straight down through the middle of the bird to remove the back. You can use the back to make stock or you can discard frame after you have picked the meat off of it. Next, cut straight down the breast plate to separate the breasts into 2 pieces. Finally, cut each breast half crosswise into 2 pieces and transfer the pieces to the serving platter. You should have 10 pieces total, 4 breast pieces, 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, and 2 wings.