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How to Cut Up and Fry a Chicken

Have you ever seen a really great sale on whole chickens at the grocery store and wished you knew how to cut up a whole chicken?

I have, and that's why I was so excited to attend another session of "Hearts and Hands" wherein the older women in our church teach the younger women different skills, like candy making, how to make strawberry jam, making homemade Bisquick mix, and more.

First, reach into the cavity and remove the gizzard, liver, and neck. The chicken will need to be completely defrosted in order for you to do this, so if it is has been frozen, it will need to defrost in the refrigerator for 2 days or so.

With a sharp knife, cut the wings off where they join the body. You will be able to feel where the joint is and the knife will slip in between the bones if you are in the right place.

Next remove each leg and thigh portion together as one piece. Again you will feel, with your knife, the joint where the thigh connects to the body.

Now separate the legs from the thighs.

Find the point where the breastbone, or "wishbone" ends.

Make a deep vertical cut until you feel resistance against the knife. Now make a horizontal cut to remove the breast portion.

Now you will separate the front of the chicken, where you just cut the breast, from the back. This will require cutting through some small rib bones at the sides.

You will be left with the lower front portion, which you will cut into two pieces, down the center, and the back. Cut the back into two pieces down the center, and split each of those in half.

You are through cutting!

Here are two options for breading the chicken for frying:

The "flour-milk-flour in bowls" method

or the "shake it in a bag" method.

Either way, you will want to use this tried and true fried chicken coating recipe my family loves.

Place the chicken pieces in a pan with oil that has been heating on high heat.

After about 8 minutes, turn each of the pieces over. Let then fry for 8 more minutes, then turn the heat to medium. Fry for 20 minutes more, flipping once again after 10 minutes.

Remove the pieces to a plate lined with paper towels.

Now, pour all of the oil out of the pan except for about 1/2 cup and make some of my homemade country gravy to enjoy with your fried chicken!

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  1. Awesome, thanks for sharing! I’ve pinned this so I can easily find it to try the next time we buy a whole chicken :)

  2. In my college Home Eco. this is one of the first things we learned, we did however use kitchen shears to remove the backbone.

  3. I’ve found that if you hold the chicken up and shake really hard, you don’t actually have to put your hand in the chicken. Just saying….

  4. This post isn’t in any way related to that recent rooster attack is it?

  5. Sonya Vande Velde says:

    Exactly the way my mother taught us as girls! And I’m sure her mother taught it to her. I hadn’t stopped to think that this is a skill I need to teach my children (because chicken tenders may not always be affordable 😉 ). And, I must get an iron skillet to do this meal justice!
    Thanks, Connie. I hadn’t realized I have a skill that really is being lost because we’ve neglected to pass it on. This week’s shopping list will include a whole chicken.