Today’s Throwback Thursday is in honor of my dear friend Cheri whose son Ty is headed to Madagascar for two years. She has been teaching him how to cook the food he will need to survive and learning to butcher a whole chicken might be the difference between a life of rice or fried chicken.

One common theme I hear when I tell people about buying local, whole chickens is that they are intimidated by the “whole” part. They are too comfortable buying their bag full of frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts and feel intimidated by a whole chicken.

It truly isn’t hard to cut up a whole chicken and only takes about five minutes. But if it feels a bit yucky to you then you need to put your big-girl pants on, channel your inner great-grandmother, and be grateful that you are starting here:


instead of here:


But if you do want to see a woman butcher a chicken effortlessly (I’m in awe!) watch here

First off, you need a sharp knife and a pair of kitchen shears. I typically pull out my knife sharpener beforehand.

A key thing to remember is that this bird is dead and you cannot hurt it. You are in charge. Place the bird on its back and pull the leg and thigh away from the body. First use the knife to cut through the skin and then pull the thigh so you can see the joint. If you can’t easily see it, then continue to pull the thigh…it will separate eventually. Slice through the rest of the joint.


Cut both thighs off and then lay them skin side down. There is a very thin line of cartilage you can slide your knife down to separate the leg from the thigh. The knife should slide through easily, so if it isn’t gliding move the knife and find the right spot.


Next, turn the bird over and cut off both wings. Same thing, pull the legs until the joint starts to separate then finish off with the knife.


Using kitchen shears, cut the back from the breast.


Now you are left with the breast. image

Flip it over and using a knife or kitchen shears, cut between the breasts right up the thin line of cartilage in the middle.


Five minutes later you have breasts, wings, thighs, and drumsticks.


At this point, you can cut the bones off the breast with a sharp knife, depending on what you are using the chicken for. I then, either put the  leftover bones and back in a pot for stock, or save them in the freezer for later. I also keep a bag full of raw wings in my freezer until I collect about 10 of them. Once I have enough I defrost them and make buffalo wings!

So in honor of the Super Bowl this last week, I pulled out my bag of frozen chicken wings and made buffalo wings. These wings are spicy, but not too spicy. I’m a wimp when it comes to heat, but they were just right: my nose ran a little bit, but I was still able to taste the rest of my meal! Lucky for me they were too spicy for my kids, so my husband and I got to eat them all…



Now, in order to get your wings ready to fry, you need to cut them up more. Again you are going to cut at the joint. First cut off the tip of the wings. Throw the tips in with your stock. Then cut the rest of the wing in half at the joint, so you are left with the drumette and the middle portion. 

Buffalo Wings

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup hot sauce,
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

several cups oil for frying
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1.5 pounds chicken wings (about 10 wings, cut up)

Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing and Vegetables
1 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoons white wine vinegar

Carrots and celery for serving.

For the Blue Cheese Dressing, mash the blue cheese and buttermilk in small bowl, then stir in remaining ingredients. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.

For the wings, heat  oil in large dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. While the oil is heating, mix together cayenne, black pepper, salt, and cornstarch in small bowl. Dry the chicken with paper towels and place pieces in a large mixing bowl. Mix the spices with the wings and toss until coated. Fry half the chicken wings until golden and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer fried chicken wings to the oven, heated to 200 degrees. Keep first batch of chicken warm in oven while frying remaining wings. Wings can stay in the oven until they are ready to be served.

For sauce, in a small pan melt butter on low heat. Whisk in the hot sauce, sugar, and vinegar until combined. Remove from heat and set aside.

Pour the sauce into bowl, then add cooked chicken wings and toss. Serve immediately with the carrot and celery sticks and blue cheese dressing on side.