How to portion a chicken

Start by taking the legs off. Insert your knife down the side, just through the skin and in between the joints. Flip the chicken over and literally break its legs, you will see what’s called the chef’s eye or the chef’s oyster. Take your knife and cut around the chef’s eye. Make sure you leave as much meat as possible on the joints and not on the carcass. Do the same thing with the other side. Cut off the top knuckle and reserve for stock. Find the knuckle between the thigh and leg, put your knife on the knuckle and cut through. Repeat the process with the remaining chef’s eye.

Next take the winglets off by cutting through the joints, reserve for stock.

Take the remaining carcass and from the front pick a 45 degree angle and cut through, then do the same with the other side, so you create a v-shape. The wishbone is in the middle of the v-shape, cut through the wishbone with your knife. With your knife go all the way down the side of the v-shape until you get to the knuckle, then cut through the knuckle. Repeat the process on the other side, this will give you two pieces of white meat.

Next take your knife and cut the two breasts away from the carcass, taking care to leave as much meat as possible on the joint than on the carcass. The leftover carcass can be used for stock.

See recipe in full

Moroccan grilled chicken with preserved lemon Moroccan grilled chicken with preserved lemon

By James Martin

Skill level


Equipment you will need for this technique

  • Sharp knife, chopping board