I stumbled over your site, weirdly enough, looking for an answer to a question about the way graphics are displaying in my Word document.
At any rate, great site. Thought I'd point you to DC-stuff's Cookbook. It's a collection of recipes from participants in a forum for people who attend Defcon -- the yearly hacker convention in Vegas.
Great recipes there and great commentary about how to enjoy wine, food, beer, scotch, and other delights!
I post at the list every so often and couldn't resist sharing with a fellow geek/gourmet! :)
I had always learned to remove the keel bone before splitting the breasts, and I think a boning knife would be handy here.
now of course the real chalange is to debone the dark quarter. Any tricks up your sleave for that?
That's another article... a sharp boning knife is very handy for extracting bones from the dark meat. Deboning a breast is pretty straight forward - but knowing the technique helps a lot (like cutting up the chicken).
I'd love to see an article about deboning.
i love the site! i love the way the recipies are laid out two dimensionally by ingredient and time. this whole website reaffirms my belief that cooking is just like chem lab but with more love. :)
I was just watching the food network the other day & the guy on Great Eats was ranting at some chicken while discussing exactly this!
Did that influence you to post this? :D
re: Good Eats
It turns out the very first episode of Good Eats I ever saw (a couple years ago) was Fry Hard II where Alton uses a T-Rex dinosaur model to show how to cut up a whole chicken. I was hooked from that moment on.
The impetus to post this article? Maybe my subconscious remembered Fry Hard II, but I my conscious thought process was: Hmm, I've been frying a whole lot of chickens (testing fried chicken recipes) and today whole chickens went are on sale... I should do a pictoral on cutting up a chicken.
If I remember correctly, Alton's method results in boneless breasts and an intact wishbone.
I've never had kitchen shears - I imagine I"d think they were indispensible if I had. But I get the same effect by using a stout knife (small French Chef's knife) to remove the backbone, cutting through the ribs on either side. Then you can just fold the carcass back so that the skin side of the breasts touch, and by loosening the membrane over the keel bone, the cartilage and the keel bone just pop right out - with a little guidance from the fingers. Fold the now boneless breasts over your knife and cut them in half. Same effect, no shears.
Love this site!
re: no kitchen shears
Great tip, mopalia! Thanks!
Possibly a Britishism? Anyways it's a great way to cut a bird for grilling.
I think we just call it: butterflied chicken
This typically involves removing the backbone and spreading the chicken out while pressing down on the breastplate until it breaks. Some grilling methods use skewers through the bird to hold it in position.
Great article. i would like to hear how you create your own chicken stock also.Thanks.
We butterfly turkeys at our house, then cook on the gas grill. I saw the technique on a PBS show, but they cooked their bird in the oven. When the bird is brined first and cooked pretty fast, this yields the juiciest turkey.
Thank you! I've always wondered how this is properly done.
On one of his shows, I saw Martin Yan cut up a chicken. He said he would do it in under a minute; he came in closer to twenty seconds.
It is perfect since I always struggle against thighs... However, is it the same technic when the chicken is roasted? Thanks a lot!!!
As an engineer, the presentation couldn't be better, it was well done and straight to the point.
Is there a specific name for the knife shown, as in deboning knife ?
Want to get a good reputable knife. Any suggestions ?
re: knife used
The knife used in this pictoral is an 8 in. Chef's knife. I chose this knife because I was able to effectively work dextrously with it while still having the ability to push through bones when I needed to. A boning knife would give you a great deal more control, but is not useful when trying to cut through the keel bone.
We'll use a boning knife for preparing a boneless chicken.
I've added some comments to the article on what instruments were used in this procedure.
Great Site however Meats should always be carved, cut, dressed,on plastic or something less porus than wood. Bacteria has a tendency to to get trapped in the cuts on the wood not easily cleaned out.
re: wood vs. plastic cutting boards
As I mentioned in the Cutting Boards article
, wood butting boards do not harbor bacteria. In fact, most kitchens have cleaner wood cutting baords than plastic because home chef's do not replace their plastic cutting boards often enough.
Conventional wisdom states that because you cut grooves into wood cutting boards, bacteria can be trapped in those micro-grooves allowing rampant growth of germs. This is true, but a thorough scrubbing will clean out all large particles and as the wood dries, the wood naturally becomes a hostile environment killing any surface bacteria and drawing the rest deep into the board (away from the surface).
Plastic boards on the other hand will develop small grooves from cuts and these won't "heal" (soften to form a continuous surface). The bacteria is much harder to get out even with severe scrubbing. Plastic cutting boards that have touched meast or poultry should go through a dishwasher cycle to heat kill the bacteria since washing and drying does not have the germicidal effect of wood boards. Also, once the board has developed too many grooves, the board should be replaced.
Link to Equipment & Gear: Cutting Boards
Regarding Martin Yan's speedy chicken processing. I read where he and Jacques Pepin have speed competitions for deboning chickens, when they get together on PBS shows and such.
Martin uses a Chinese cleaver, Jacques uses a chef's knife. They both go like lightening.
It's probably scary to watch, as well as a amazing. Shows what just a little practice will get you...
...where the thigh bone meets the drumstick, one can easly see a line of fat that marks the angle to cut. Nature shows the way!
There's an easy way to find the thigh joint. First cut the skin and fleshy bits on the frontal groin portion of the chicken between the leg and the breast. Next, push back the thigh into a good ballet-style turnout, keep pushing the "knee" backwards towards the chicken's back and the thighbone will *pop* right out of the pelvic joint. It's easy to then just cut through the little bit of soft fleshy material in the joint.
I was looking for a roasted potato technique and found your site. (After 25 years of cooking for my family I have found a difference between cooking techniques and recipes.)
RE: cutting up chicken...if your look carefully at the joints you will see a fine line of fat which appears as a thin white strip under the skin. Cut through this line of fat and you hit the joint each time. It's visible on every joint you cut.
Just wanted to thank you for a great site: well laid out, clear rationale (eg, use of salt water in marinade for chicken), helpful pics. I'll try to post the outcome of the chile lime grilled chicken! B
Back in the poor student stage, this was the way I came up with.
I grap the chick leg with my left hand and the rest of the chicken by my right hand so that my thumbs towards each other (almost like vectors). I can easily determine where the joint based on the way the legs can rotate. The place where my two thumbs eventually lined up where there is a slight depression between. There's where I make my cut.
Okay - Great site - Here I go - Wish me luck!! :( I'll let you know how it turns out - the cutting part, that is!!
I ran across you site looking for tips on "Deboning" chicken wings. There are several Thai recipes, and one from Emerl on foodtv.com for Stuffed chicken wings that I really want to try.
I have downloaded two techniques - emerls and one other, and have tried to debone the wings. I can get the bones out, but It seems like I should wind up with a skin "sock" with meat in the middle. and my boned wings wind up looking like rags...
DOES ANYBODY AT THIS SITE HAVE A CULINARY EDUCATION ?
Thats a pretty wide question mr.
Do you mean a formal education???
I have to say nice Mise en Place. Yuo need to rethink the tools that are required for this task. You need the Chef knife and a Filet Knife. You use the Chef knife for cutting through the bone only. The Filet knife is for makeing hte cuts on the chicken, it helps the presentation of the final product.
One area for improvement is the wing. You need to cut off the tip of the wing and not seperate the wing from the drumette. You do this since the tip has no savory meat for the consumer.
The other area is the breast. You demonstrated the way to leave the bone in the breats. The other method is to debone the breast. This is done using hte filet knife and using a skinning motion run the knife between the bone and the flesh pulling the flesh as you cut along the carcass.
My mother and grandmother would cut their chicken in to alot more pieces to be able to feed 9 children. Does anyone know how to cut the chicken to get me the wishbone and second wishbone pieces?
explains most of that
When I decided to tackle cutting up a raw chicken (after years of discarding recipes that called for one), I knew that this was the site that would have a method for a directed learner like me. Thanks so much for keeping this going.
I was cutting up a roasting chicken the other day. I cut down the centre of the breastbone an along the bone was a long piece of green that looked like some kind of meat but it was green. Had no smell to it but disturbing to see this. It was right into the breastbone on the one side. Does anyone know what this could be? I threw it out as I had no idea what it could be. I have been cooking chickens like this for 35 years and never seen that before. Asked someone else that has been cooking for 70 years and showed her. She has never seen it either. Help ???
It's called "green tenders," and is found pretty much exclusively in commercially-bred and raised hybrid broilers such as the "Jumbo Cornish Cross" meat birds. If you buy chicken at the grocery store, this is what you're getting. Pretty much the only way to get any other kind of bird is to raise them yourself, or know someone who does. The broilers are genetically developed for super-rapid growth and efficient feed conversion, and are typically harvested at 5-6 weeks of age. If allowed to get much older than that, the bird begins to put on more muscle mass (especially in the breast) than its bones or organs can support. The theory I'm most familiar with about green tenders is that it comes from a lack of blood supply and therefore oxygen to the "tenders" of the breast, due to the excessive mass and weight of the chick. In other words, that bird had already started to die from the inside out. I'm pretty sure green tenders are tissue that's gone necrotic. I've heard some say that it was safe to eat, but I'll not be the one to test THAT theory.
We are now raising our own backyard flock of heritage breed chickens for meat and eggs. We won't get the rapid growth (the youngest our birds will be harvested is 16 weeks) or the enormous breast, but then, our chooks will be able to live much more normal chicken lives, running, scratching, sunbathing, catching bugs, and roosting in trees. For our money, it's a pretty good trade-off.
Thanks for these posts, BTW. We'll be referring to them when we dress out our birds, since we rarely roast one whole or eat the skin.
Michael, any more specific comments about cutting the breast halves into quarters? The simple step you show doesn't provide much info; the reason I'm asking is that for stewed dishes, like Indian recipes, if you do this badly you get a lot of little rib pieces in the meat - bad! I've done it both badly and well, but am not sure I know why. If you can help, thanks!
Had my second case of green tenders in a 9 lb. chicken that I cooked tonight. Did not discover this however until after the chicken was fully cooked and was removing the remaining meat for soup . We had already ate the legs and thighs and then while removing the breast meat discovered the green portion of meat on one side of the breast bone. Not very appetizing at this point. Is it safe to eat or would be best thrown away? I had originally posted my first case of this back in July but was lucky enough that we found the green tenders instantly as I was deboning the uncooked bird .
as Belinda mentioned:
>>>I'm pretty sure green tenders are tissue that's gone necrotic.
see a search on: Deep Pectoral Myopathy
as applied to a living animal, necrotic means dead and rotting tissue.
I would not eat any of that chicken and - being it's a repeat performance - I'd sure be looking for another source of chicken.
appears to be more prevalent in large birds - especially bred for breast meat production.
I'd also pack it up, take it into the store manager and ask if they'd care for a bite . . .
I found out one day in the kitchen that you can easilly remove the tendons in chicken breast by using a pair of basic needle nose pliars to grip the end of the tendon and a fork to hold the meat in position while you pull the tendon out.
My husband was butchering a supermarket bought free-range chicken this evening to discover a large green mass in one of the breasts. Very disturbing indeed. We have taken photos to give to the supermarket but have dispatched to the bin to remove any possible contamination risk. we did a search and found a reference to similar on this site. thank goodness we didn't roast and eat it before we discovered it.
Happenrd last nite lovely large roast chichen- started carving- inner meat very green along the breastbone- as we had guests for supper I just carved arround that.
kidding!! Threw it all out!
I have seen it before- cornish cross - large birds.
From now on when the bird is thawed I will be cutting along the breast bone to inspect before roasting.
Sometimes the large birds have few feathers on the breast as they lay down a lot. they can have a scab there - Possible entry point for bacteria?
Supper was mashed potatoes, salad, fresh biscuits, stuffing- the extra that was not inside the bird, gravey- wine- was all good
>>entry point for bacteria?
overly large breast development leads to tissue necrosis / myopathy.
open the link for pdf full text version.
the bird cannot supply enough blood to the huge breast sections and the tissue dies.
some articles cite it is safe for human consumption.
quite frankly, I'm not going to eat chicken meat that the chicken has been carrying around dead and decaying within its body.
i have a MUCH easier way of cutting of the chicken breasts.
once you come to picture 9 (splitting the bone), don't split the bone, just remove the skin and make a neat slice with the knife all the way down the middle, and stick your finger underneath the slit, you'll find that the breast comes off the bone very easily - one on the right side, and one on the left - just use your knife to ease it off from the sides.
(i bang the breasts with a 'schnitzel hammer', i dip into bread crumbs, then into beaten egg and again into bread crumbs and fry! yum the children [and grown ups] love it)
Hi, I would just like to say thank you for this really helpful information. After all I am a civil engineer and well I honestly don't known ho to cut up a chicken. So thanks for your help.