This Basic Kitchen Skill Will Save You Hundreds Of Pesos

Buying whole cuts is so much more affordable!

IMAGE Dairy Darilag

Anyone can save money but one of the best ways you can save money every month is by shopping smart

Shopping smart is really about the choices you make on your grocery run. It's more than just finding the budget buys. It's learning what your options are and making the best choice among these many options. 

One of the ways you can save money is by identifying affordable options compared to the pricier ones. The one kitchen task that can save you money, especially in the long run, is learning how to cut up a whole chicken.

You can even use it to glaze chicken wings!
Photo by Majoy Siason 
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You might be intimidated by using a knife on a whole chicken, but we promise that if you learn this one skill you really will save hundreds of pesos. A regular whole chicken is about P150 while individual pieces of chicken of the same weight is almost P200 and up. The difference is around P30 to almost P100 per kilo

That means if you buy 1 kilogram whole chicken (around P150) every day to feed your family of four for one month instead of 1 kilogram chicken wings (around P180), you save at least P900 pesos every month. That's at least 5 whole chickens you could have bought with your savings alone!  

You can ask your butcher to cut up a whole chicken for you but if you don't have the time to wait in line, you can learn how to cut up a whole chicken yourself by watching online videos. (We love how easily Gordon Ramsay makes it look!). 

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You just have to remember that the chicken can be cut up into eight equal parts: two wings, two drumsticks, two thighs, and two breasts. The backbone is usually discarded or used for making stocks but if you include it, you should have a solid 10 pieces of chicken to use in your dishes.  

The best tip to make cutting up a chicken easy is to follow the joints and natural lines of the chicken. By knowing where the joints are connected and learning where to make those cuts, you don't have to fight your way through hard bones. 

Need more help? Here's a step-by-step guide on how to cut up a whole chicken into its eight parts: 

Photo by Bianca Laxamana
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1 Cut off the leg and thigh quarters. 

The first step is to remove the leg and thigh quarters. To do this, place the chicken breast side up on your cutting board, the legs closest to you. Press down on one leg or thigh to open it up so you can make a slice in the chicken skin to expose the thigh meat. 

Press down on the thigh and pop out or pull on the thigh bone. You should see the thigh joint. This is where you cut to separate the thigh portion from the rest of the chicken, taking care not to cut into the breast meat. Do the same on the other side. 

Once you have the leg portion separated from the rest of the chicken, flip it over if needed so the flesh is exposed, not the skin side, and you can see the thigh meat. You will see a line of fat that runs along the joint between the thigh and the leg. Make a cut here to separate the thigh and leg (or drumstick) portions, taking care to keep the skin attached to both parts as much as possible. Repeat with the other thigh portion. 

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You should have two thigh pieces and two leg pieces. Four more chicken parts to go!  

Collect chicken wings so you can have a delicious glazed chicken wing meal!
Photo by Majoy Siason

2 Separate the chicken wings.

Just like the thigh and drumsticks, you will need to find the joint where the wing is connected to the rest of the chicken. To do this, do the same thing as you did with the thigh bone: make a slice near the wing closest to the chicken and find the joint. Slice through this joint to remove the wing, taking care not to remove too much of the breast meat. Repeat this on the other wing.  

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You should have two chicken wings. Two more main chicken parts to go!  

 

Photo by Photo by Lukas from Pexels

3 Remove the backbone.  

The next step is to remove the backbone. The easiest way to do this is by using kitchen shears or scissors. You will start at the neck side and cut through the rib bones on one side of the neck and go all the way to the tail end, trying to keep as close to the spine as possible. Do the same on the other side of the neck to completely remove the backbone. If you're confident with your knife skills, use a knife to break through these thin bones. 

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You may cut this long piece in half to use for stock, soup, and other recipes that need just a little of chicken meat like pancit or lomi recipes

4 Cut off the chicken breasts.  

The next step is to flatten the chicken. Since the chicken no longer has a backbone, you can easily do this. This will help you to use your knife to remove the remaining chicken pieces. Place the chicken on your board, breasts side up, and press down to flatten the chicken. This will also help the chicken from rolling to the side as you separate the breasts. 

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Use your fingers to feel where the breast bone is. That is where you will start your cut. If you're making chicken breast fillets or boneless chicken breasts, you will not cut through the breast bone and instead, run your knife along the breast bone as many times as needed to separate the meat from the bone. You will have to cut through the wishbone so angle your knife up and then slam your hand down through the bone. You can do this with scissors as well if desired. Repeat the same process on the other breast. 

Remove the wishbone by grasping the bone and pulling it out from the breast meat. You may need to slice it off if necessary. Do this with both breast halves. 

If you are making fried chicken and don't need the breast halves to be boneless, slice through the meat against the breastbone then use your other hand to help you press down and cut cleanly through the bone. 

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We really believe that buying a whole chicken will save you hundreds of pesos per month! This doesn't mean you have to cook a whole chicken every time. Instead, learn the steps to cutting up a chicken, and you are on your way to cooking any kind of chicken recipe any time.  

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