Cutting Up My First Whole Fresh Chicken

I got two whole fresh chickens from a local farmer today. This is a farmer I get eggs from who has just started keeping chickens this past year. I’ll be visiting in a few weeks and will post some pictures and an introduction soon. For now I’ll show you what to do when you get your hands on a whole fresh chicken. I usually buy organic/pastured whole chickens already frozen, so I have never done this before.

Michael from Nutrition and Physical Regeneration sent me a link this great video showing exactly how to cut a whole chicken into all the pieces. Cutting up chicken on YouTube. It’s not a long video, only 5 minutes to cut everything up. My first chicken I took longer, but the second one was easy to cut up in about that length of time. I started with everything laid out and my knife freshly sharpened (yes there’s a cutting board somewhere under that 8lbs beast – I need a bigger cutting board).

Following the instructional video, I got both chickens cut up quite nicely. In fact the pieces really did look like the pieces you buy in the grocery store. I put the chicken parts in a bowl temporarily and the carcass, wing tips, or any bones/joints that fell off into the slow cooker.

I packaged up the pieces into large freezer bags. I put 2 breasts in one bag for a larger meal, 2 of them in individual bags for smaller meals, and the breast fillets into a small bag to be used in stir-fries. I packed the drumsticks and thighs each in a bag of 4 pieces. The wings I set out to make immediately. I ended up freezing everything but the wings and drumsticks.

The wings I rubbed with paprika, garlic, and pepper and baked at 400F for 40 minutes (they were very large wings, so for smaller ones reduce time). I removed them, poured BBQ sauce over them and returned them for 7 minutes. They were so delicious!!!

I actually ended up freezing one carcass in a large freezer bag for later. My freezer is pretty stocked with stock right now (ha!) and I wanted to try saving the bones for later. I did put one carcass into the slow cooker with about 2 liters of water to simmer overnight.

I will be doing this again when I get more fresh chickens. It’s certainly a frugal way to buy and prepare chicken, because you can use the carcass for good broth while getting all the fresh chicken parts for meals. Nothing went to waste here and it only took a few minutes.

This post is part of Fight Back Friday hosted by Food Renegade and Wholesome Whole Foods hosted by Health Food Lover.


I have been following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet since January 2008 to recover from Celiac disease. As part of the diet, I don't eat grains, sugar or potatoes and prepare all my meals from scratch.


  1. Hi Kat – awesome…I too cut up chicken into pieces..way cheaper, and what a nice job you did! I look forward to more travel posts…we are headed to Kona Hawaii in Jan. 2011. We went last year…had some difficulty with airlines, so hoping next trip will be better. Really appreciate any info you have on travel. Thanks so much, Ina

  2. Thanks for posting this, Kat! I’ll be getting my first fresh chickens in September and had yet to figure out how to cut them up. I’ll have to revisit this in September. Nice work on your chickens!

  3. Glad I could be of service and thanks for the shout-out. So when are you inviting me over for dinner? 🙂

  4. Hi! I came over from FBF @ Food Renegade.

    Great post, thanks for the link to the video. I didn’t realize it was so easy!

  5. Hello! I found you from Fight Back Friday as well. You make it seem really easy. Those look like professional cuts if I ever saw them. I have been really afraid to cut up a whole chicken for quite a while, but after your info, I think I can handle it! Thanks for the post!

  6. Great post Kat.
    It is definitely so much cheaper to cut up a whole chicken than buying pieces anyway. I actually have a visual tutorial on how to do so coming up.

    By the way looks like we both have eepcs!

    Thanks for linking up to Wholesome Whole Foods!

  7. @Mary , @Rebecca , @Lacie , @Michelle (Health Food Lover) It was easier than I thought. I made quite a few cuts that weren’t in the exact right spot, but just cutting again or pushing the knife around seemed to allow me to find my way into each piece closely enough. You don’t end up cutting through bone ever which surprised me. Just cutting through joints in the right place makes it all come apart.

    @Michael Anytime if you cook and bring it over? 😛

    @The Celiac DIva Wow thank you! Love your videos 🙂

  8. This is quite the article on your experience cutting up your whole fresh chicken. Actually, the personal preparation of your own healthy food is really exciting.

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