Carving a Chicken Like a Pro: A Step-by-Step Guide

Carving a chicken may seem daunting, but fear not! You can easily master this skill and impress your guests with perfectly carved chicken every time. In this guide, I will walk you through the process, providing you with helpful tips and tricks along the way.

Carved chicken on a wooden cutting board with carving set

Learning how to carve a roast chicken is an essential skill that every home cook should possess. By following my simple steps and techniques, you’ll become an expert carver in no time, and you’ll even enjoy the process.

What You Need to Carve a Chicken

To get started, gather the following items:

Roast chicken on a wooden cutting board with a sharp carving knife and a carving fork

  • Roast Chicken: Choose your favorite type, whether it’s a store-bought rotisserie chicken or one of my mouthwatering recipes like Buttermilk Roast Chicken or Peruvian Chicken.
  • Cutting Board: Ensure that you have a clean cutting board, and secure it with a damp towel underneath to prevent any movement while you carve.
  • Carving Set: You will need a sharp carving knife or a chef’s knife, along with a carving fork. I recommend the Zwilling Set or the Wüsthof set for excellent results.
  • Paper Towels: Keep some paper towels handy to clean the cutting board as you carve the chicken and to keep your hands dry for a better grip.

Carving Order

To make the process easier, follow this order:

  1. Thigh and Leg: Start by carving the thigh and leg. You can either separate them or keep them together, depending on your preference.
  2. Wing: Remove the wings by pulling them away from the breast and cutting through the joint.
  3. Breast: Finally, separate the breast and slice it if desired.

In what order to carve a chicken, carved chicken on a wooden cutting board with numbers on each part

Carving Process

Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of carving a chicken:

  1. Prep the Cutting Board: Lay out your cutting board and place the roast chicken breast side up on it. Also, keep your paper towels and carving set nearby.
  2. Slice the Skin between the Thigh and the Body: Hold the body at the breastbone area with the carving fork, and use the knife to slice the skin between the thigh and the body. By cutting through the joint, you’ll separate the thigh from the body. Repeat on the other side as well. If you want to separate the leg from the thigh, pull the leg to expose the hip joint, use your fingers to locate the joint, and cut between the joints to separate the drumstick and thigh.

Removing the thigh from the roast chicken, carving process

  1. Moving on to the Wings: Remove the wings from the body by pulling them away from the breast and cutting through the joint. Discard the wing tips as they don’t have much meat. Then, separate the wingette from the drumette by cutting through the joint again. Repeat for the other wing.

Removing the wings from the roast chicken, carving process

  1. Cut the Breast Meat: Using the carving fork, hold the left breast, and carefully slice along the breastbone with your knife. Continue until the left side of the breast is completely released from the ribcage. Repeat for the right side, leaving the breastbone in the middle.

Removing the breast from the roast chicken, carving process

  1. Slice the Breast (optional): If desired, slice the breast into diagonal slices while keeping the crispy skin intact. This step is not essential but adds a nice touch, especially for presentation purposes.

Removing the other side of the breast from the roast chicken, carving process

  1. Plate it: Choose a large plate to display your beautifully carved and sliced chicken. Oval, round, or square plates can all work wonderfully. Serve it alongside mashed potatoes, gravy, and your choice of vegetables for a complete and satisfying meal.

Carved and sliced roast chicken on a platter

What to Do with the Carcass

Remember not to throw away the chicken carcass! It’s perfect for making homemade chicken stock. Use the carcass to create a flavorful stock that can be utilized in soups, sauces, rice dishes, casseroles, and much more.

What to Do with the Leftovers

Leftover chicken is incredibly versatile and can be used in various delicious dishes. Make a hearty Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, add it to a Caesar Salad for an extra protein boost, create mouthwatering Baked Chicken Tacos, or whip up a quick and easy Chicken Wrap.

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of how to carve a whole chicken like a pro, take charge of your dinner and create a memorable experience. For future reference, don’t forget to pin this guide!

BDK Restaurant

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