CUTTING A CHICKEN INTO parts is not difficult, but it does take a little know-how and you do get better at it with practice. (Our favorite way to practice is with fried chicken recipes, of course.)
We recommend breaking down a whole chicken into parts for three main reasons: It’s cheaper; the parts will be of a similar size and thus cook more evenly; and you get to save the wingtips and backs for homemade stock (we like to keep them in a bag in the freezer until we have enough for a big batch of stock). We found a 4-pound bird gave us 3 pounds of parts if we included the wings in that weight, as we often do in our fried chicken recipes. However, a 4½- to 5-pound chicken was necessary to yield an average of 3 pounds of pieces without the wings.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Butchering a whole chicken into parts isn’t hard and has many benefits to the home cook, but does take a little know-how. Use these steps to do practice this important skill.