The last phase of the process is optional. It all depends on what cuts of chicken you like to cook with. We like to take things one step further, because we often use the wings as “chicken nibbles”, and two small pieces feel more satisfying than one larger piece. We also like to use the thighs and drumsticks differently. So here’s how we finish off.
8. Separate the thigh from the drumstick.
Gripping the top of the leg in one hand and the bottom of the leg in the other, bend the thigh back and away from the leg until you hear/see/feel the joint pop out. Same as before – you’ll need to use quite a bit of force, and prodding with a thumb or finger will help you locate the socket of the joint.
Now it’s time to sever the tendon. Bend it back over your finger, like you did when separating the wing from the body (step 5). Then lay the whole piece on the board and cut straight through between ball and socket.
To maximise the amount of meat on the top of the drumstick, try to make this cut slightly Vee-shaped, with the thigh meat slotting in to the top of the vee. Don’t worry if it’s a bit messy. Trim away any little bits of joint cartilage, and add them to the stockpot. Repeat with the other leg.
9. Separate the wings.
Taking the middle joint of the wing in one hand and the shoulder end in the other, pop the joint. It will feel a bit different to the others – there are more bones involved – but the principle is the same. Then cut through the joint to separate the wing into a mini drumstick (the shoulder end), and a two-part wing. (You can, if you prefer, just cut straight through the joint with a heavy knife, rather than breaking the joint first. Up to you.)
Now it’s just a matter of cutting the final joint (the wing tip) off. Lay the wing on the board, flex it a little to find the joint, and cut straight through. The tip is just skin, bone and a little connective tissue, so most people don’t bother to keep it. It will however do a good job of adding flavour to the stock.
So there you have it. One chicken, completely jointed, ready for cooking or freezing, plus trimmings for stock.
Doesn’t that feel good?