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The Whole Chicken: A Better Value Than The Sum of Its Parts

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

A whole chicken is great! I think we all can agree that it doesn't always fit what we are looking for, though. For example, it seems like a fairly ridiculous idea to make chicken parm out of a whole bird! Or imagine sitting down to a football game with a whole chicken slathered in a nice medium buffalo sauce! There is a time and a place for everything. We get it.

I was reminded this week just how easy it is to break down a chicken yourself. I don't mean its easy for someone that's done it 1000 times. I mean.....ITS EASY! I had seven whole birds that I needed to do something with for our own consumption here on the Ranch. I decided my best option was to break it down and freeze it by cut. I chose to do boneless skinless breasts (truth be told, I had the seven extra birds because I tore the skin off the breasts when I was plucking them, and the high-end restaurant they were going to needed their "money-cut"), thighs and legs together with the skin on, and then wings. I could have separated legs and thighs, but I enjoy cooking them together. I could have also pulled the tenders from the breast, but I simply chose not to for this round.

I launched into this project on a Friday morning at 10am. By 10:33, all seven birds were parted, my mess was cleaned up, and the seven boney cages that were left were already on the stove and starting their journey to becoming stock. By 11:15, everything was vacuum sealed and in the freezer. It was very sincerely THAT EASY.

That night for dinner I used two of the breasts that I had extracted. They weighed in at 12 oz. each. I cut them up to make some farm fresh chicken nuggets for a kid friendly Friday night special. I breaded them in locally milled flour, tossed in some pepper, salt, chili powder, paprika, garlic, and onion powder, and then fried them up in a some rendered lard. Our farm fresh meal for six cost us about 12 dollars, plus a can of corn from our canning shelf.

I get it, breaking down a bird (like anything, really) is daunting the first time. When you take two minutes to watch a tutorial, and then give it a shot, you'll walk away successful, feeling like Food Network chef, and ready to take on the next task.....a perfectly roasted, crispy skinned chicken breast sliced to perfection.

Humor me---grab a bird, give it a try. Let us know know how it goes! If you need some help, we're here for you!

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