How To Fabricate Poultry
Cutting up poultry into its various component cuts (called “fabricating” in the culinary industry) is a very good skill to develop. Not only is it generally more economical to buy whole birds, but you are also left with the bones, which can be used to make stock. The most important thing to remember when cutting up poultry is to let the bird’s bone structure guide you.
How to cut up chicken
How to cut up duck
If attached, remove the feet and head (at neck) using a meat cleaver or the heel of a chef’s knife blade with a forceful strike down.
Find the center breast bone and slide your blade down between it and the breast meat with shallow slicing motions. Follow down the rib cage, and angle out of the flesh above the leg. Repeat with other breast. Almost any longish knife can be used but a firm boning knife is best if you have it.
Pop leg joint open with your hands and cut straight down through the resulting gap. You may have to crunch through some cartilage, but shouldn’t have to cut or break the bone.
Often people simply throw the wings away, as they contain little meat. However, if you are a wing fan, they can be prepped and frozen until you have enough for a serving. They can also be used to impart flavor to broths.
Cut off the end joint (the nubbin) and separate the two middle joints. Each of these is one wing piece for the purposes of buffalo wings and similar recipes.