Want the easy know-how for dividing a whole chicken?
Maybe you don’t want to thaw a whole chicken when your family wants a recipe with chicken breasts.
It sure would be easier to just throw the whole chicken in a freezer bag and go, right?
It’s actually very easy to divide a whole chicken at the end of the harvesting process. And so much easier later when you only want certain parts of the chicken as the main dish to any great chicken recipe.
My family and I raise and harvest our own chickens each year. Every year but sometimes twice a year, we purchase a cluster of small day-old chicks to feed out. They are ready in about 8 weeks.
Then, we harvest our own birds on our property. I have other posts about raising and butchering chickens. I’ll post them down below.
This particular post is all about dividing a whole chicken (whether you’re buying or dividing your own) in order to have all the parts for different recipes later. It’s about convenience and saving time for you in the future.
So, How Do You Cut This Whole Chicken Up?
Cutting up a whole chicken is all about finding the natural break joints.
- For the wings, cut at the shoulders. Find the natural line where the wing meets the breast plate.
- For the legs, cut straight along the side of the upper thigh.
- To split the drumstick and the thigh, find the breakdown about in the middle of the piece. It should be an easy cut.
- Lastly is the breast. For a healthier option, I took the skin off and shaved the breast off the bone like this:
Finally, I washed all the pieces one last time and bagged them in Ziplock freezer bags. You can use other freezer type bags, freezer paper or something else to prevent freezer burnt.
How many chicken pieces do you put into each bag?
Here’s a question we had when we first started. How full do we fill the freezer bags? It really was trial and error but really, our decision was based upon convenience. For you, determine how much chicken your family would eat for one meal. This also depends on how much the freezer bag will hold.
Here’s how I figure each gallon-sized bag for my family of four:
Each bag of chicken breasts contains four large breasts. This often lasts us two meals because the breasts on the Cornish Crosses are huge.
Drumsticks have six.
Wings have 12.
Thighs have eight.
Why I Divide the Whole Chicken
For convenience purposes, I prefer to divide the whole chicken into breasts, thighs, wings, and drumsticks.
The middle breastbone is graciously donated to a family member to make chicken stock. Someday, I will make the time to prepare my own. I just haven’t taken that step yet.
You can also consume the chicken feet. We have not tried it yet, but I know there’s recipes and ways to use chicken feet so nothing is wasted.
Bottom line: I don’t have time to thaw and cook an entire whole chicken every time my family wants chicken breast. Therefore, all I have to do is grab a little bag of thighs for chicken & rice and WALA: The rest of the chicken stays in the freezer. Easy Peasy.
How Would You Divide a Whole Chicken?
Although I just shared the way I cut my chickens up, there are numerous ways to do it.
Please share yours below in the comments!
“How do you cut your chickens up? Please comment below!”
~ Much Love ~
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