Behind the Meat Counter: How (and why) to Butcher a Whole Chicken

 This is Part 1 of a three part series: Behind the Meat Counter 

When it comes to grocery shopping, I'm a lot like many of you, and I tend to be very particular about where my food comes from. I might pay a little more per pound for the food I buy for my family, but to me, those pennies are worth it. Still, being budget conscious, I try to make my dollars stretch, so when it comes to my meat and fish, I know that I'll be able to get better quality if I shop at certain stores that are as picky as I am (if not more so) about where my food comes from and how it was raised, and if I do a little bit of the work myself.

When it comes to chicken, I know the best bang for my buck is going to be to buy the whole chicken and butcher it at home. Buying the whole chicken is less per pound than the same meat cut into pieces. But the idea of cutting a whole chicken into parts has always sort of intimidated me, so I usually end up cooking the whole bird in a crock pot.

However, as I learned last week, it's really not that difficult to do, as long as you know what you're doing.

There are two things you need to butcher a chicken. First, you need to make sure to use a knife that's good and sharp.  The bones of a chicken are brittle and fairly easy to break through with metal, but having a sharp blade ensures that you'll be able to cut through the skin and meat without tearing it up. The second thing you need is to know where and how to cut.

That's where Eric will be helping us out.

Oh... this is Eric: 

Eric the Whole Foods Butcher.jpg

Eric is one of the helpful butchers behind the counter at Whole Foods Market Del Mar. Here, he gives us a quick lesson on how to butcher a chicken:

See??? That wasn't so hard, now was it? If you're still intimidated by the thought of cutting it up yourself, ask the guys at the Whole Foods counter. I'm sure they'd be happy to take care of that for you.


Look for Part 2 where we learn to fillet a three foot Mahi!