Butchering a chicken may seem a hopelessly difficult thing to try, but in reality it's not that tough to do. Why bother? Buying a whole chicken and cutting it up is much cheaper than buying precut chicken parts. The bonus is that you are left with the bone in and skin intact, so the flavor of the finished dish will be more pronounced.
Here's what you do:
1. Lay the chicken out on a cutting board with the cavity facing you. Insert a heavy chef's knife just to the right of the tail until it protrudes out from the neck cavity.
2. Press down firmly (this will take some muscle) to sever the backbone from the thigh and ribcage.
3. Repeat this step on the other side of the backbone, then remove and discard it.
4. Press down to flatten the chicken out with the legs pointed outwards at a 45-degree angle. Feeling around to discern where the legs and thighs meet the cavity, cut them apart. You should now have a heart-shaped chicken body.
5. With your knife close to the breast plate (which divides the two breasts), score down one side, and press and remove the breast. You now have one breast with the wing-tip attached.
6. To finish the process, invert the last breast, rib side up. Remove the breast plate with a sharp downward motion of the knife as close to the plate as possible.
7. Now all you need to do is separate the wing tips from the breast. Cut the first major joint down from the arm on both sides.
Congratulations, you've just quartered a chicken!
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