Well, it is and it isn't!
What if I told you that parting out a chicken is super-easy, and is both cheaper and greener all at once?
If you calculate the price of a whole bird vs. all of its components (boneless skinless breasts, drumsticks, thighs, back, and wings), a whole bird will ALWAYS be the more economical choice.
It's also the greener choice! A whole chicken requires 1 bag, 1 tie, and 1 label. Parted out chickens require 3-4 bags, ties and labels, and triple the propane usage for the shrink bags. Every little bit of plastic that we reduce is less for the landfill (as poultry bags are not recyclable).
So how do you part out a whole chicken?
If you're purchasing it from us, it's likely frozen. You'll need to thaw it in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. Make sure you put it in a pasta bowl or another curved dish so that you don't have drippings on your shelves (yuck!). I also prefer to put it on a lower shelf, so that my veggies and fruits and 3 racks of condiments (for real) don't get contaminated by raw chicken.
Parting out the chicken:
Here are the directions without a video:
1. Cut the meat on both sides of the wing, pop the joint into view, and snip the ligaments to free each wing.
2. Slice the skin along the drumstick-thigh joint. Pop the thigh joint out, and use your knife to snip the ligaments holding the joint together. It should easily come apart - you shouldn't be cutting bone or joints!
3. If you want to separate thigh and drumsticks, cut the meat on both sides of the joint (this is the knee joint equivalent to a person!). Then use the knife to snip the ligaments and release the joint. Again, no cutting bone or joints needed!
4. Breast - To release boneless, skinless breasts and tenders, slide a sharp knife along one side of the keel (that's the center bone/cartilage between the breasts). Slide the knife along the ribs, and around back to the keel. You should be able to separate the tenders from the rest of the breast at this point. Repeat for the other side.
You've done it!
Now you've got at least 3, maybe even 4 or 5 meals out of a single chicken, depending on what size portions you need. Don't forget to put the back in the slow cooker or a stew pot for a nourishing, gut-healing stew or soup. There's still plenty of meat on there for your stew.
If you don't want to part out your chicken and just want a quick start to a 3-meal chicken, visit our 3-meal chicken article, where I tell you how to I go from frozen chicken to roast while I'm at work, and use the leftovers for 2 more meals.