How to Carve a Whole Chicken or Turkey
I could try to write you through the method of carving a chicken, but it’s much easier to watch my video to see how it is done, so check it out below.
One alternative to cutting the chicken into pieces that are on the bone is to remove the split breasts from the bone first (chicken breast refers to the entire chest of the chicken – a split breast refers to one side of the chest, so a chicken breast is made up of two split breasts). To do this, don’t cut through the top of the chicken completely. Instead, cut only as far down as the breast bone and then slice the knife under the breast, between the meat and the rib bones and remove the breast from the rib cage. If you separate the split breast from the chicken carcass this way, you can place it down on a cutting board and slice it into nice even slices. This is a very easy way to get nice slices of turkey breast too.
You might also be interested in learning how to spatchcock a chicken, which means to remove the backbone and spread the chicken out flat. Check out that lesson here.
Quick Notes & Tips for Carving a Chicken:
- Place your cutting board on a sheet pan so that any drippings that might drip off your cutting board are caught by the pan.
- Use a sharp knife that is at least 8 inches long – a longer knife is often easier.
- Start by cutting off the legs – pull them away from the chicken breast and slice through the skin, push the leg down towards the counter to pop the leg joint, and then slice through the joint to separate the leg from the chicken body.
- To remove the first split breast from the chicken, turn the cavity away from you and slice the knife almost vertically towards the top of the chicken, slicing next to the breast bone. Slice through the ribs next to the backbone on the cutting board to separate the breast.
- The second split breast is easier to remove because you’ve already cut through the top. Just cut through the rib bones to separate the breast from the backbone.