How to joint a chicken
Cutting up a whole chicken is cheaper than buying it already jointed. Use our helpful guide for making stock, plus use different joints for making different dishes – we’ve added some recipe links to inspire you.
Once you’ve jointed your chicken, use it to make this brown chicken stock.
Our tips for success
- For boning a chicken, you need a sturdy, inflexible knife with a pointed end that can work round bones, and a thin blade for cutting flesh and sinews. We like the Victorinox Fibrox straight 15cm boning knife or the Sabatier Deglon rigid 15cm boning knife (both around £20, Nisbets).
- For the best results, use a chicken that’s still cold from the fridge — the flesh will be a little firmer and easier to cut.
1. Before you start, remove any string that’s been used to truss the chicken, check the cavity and remove any giblets, then put the bird on a large chopping board, secured underneath with a damp piece of kitchen paper. Snip off the wing tips using kitchen shears.
Turn the bird onto its breast with the parson’s nose (the fatty triangular tail) facing you. Feel for the backbone and make a cut through the thin layer of flesh from neck cavity to tail.
2. Halfway along, feel for the ‘oysters’, the round lumps of meat at the tops of the thighs that connect the legs to the body. Using the point of the knife, carefully cut each one out, cutting into the socket so you don’t lose any meat.
3. Turn the chicken over and cut through the skin between leg and body, joining up with the cut on the back of the bird. The leg should now be held on only by the joint.
4. Pull the leg away from the body and, using your fingers, feel for the joint and cut through it. The leg should come away easily from the body. Repeat with the other leg.
5. To remove the breast fillets, slice just to one side of the centre of the chicken breast.
6. Keeping the blade as close to the bone as you can, use sweeping motions to slice through the meat, little by little, and use your other hand to ease the breast away from the bone, cutting down along the wishbone near the wing. Repeat with the other breast.
7. Cut off the outer half of the wing through the joint, leaving the other part attached to the breast.
8. Halve each breast at a slight angle, making the part with the wing slightly smaller.
9. Separate the drumsticks from the thighs by feeling for the thigh joint of each leg, then cutting firmly down through it.
10. You now have 8 main pieces of meat, plus wings and oysters. The carcass and wing tips can be used for making stock.