For all of the holiday cooking that takes place, one wonderful skill to learn this time of year is how to properly butcher a whole chicken. I spent time this year learning to better wield a knife in the kitchen in terms of meat preparation. There is so much to learn about this art, but for purposes of my learning, and this post, KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) is the appropriate formula.
I buy my chickens from Melo Farms, where soy-free, grass-pastured chickens are available from May - November of each year. In the case that Melo chicken is sold out, I have many local farmers as "backups" who also bring free-range chickens to market. After late November, I rely on my freezer to hold me over with a Melo chicken supply until springtime comes again. Last year, I found myself with a freezer stock of whole chickens, so I dedicated some time to properly preparing them. Of course, chicken rotisserie on the Weber grill is the tastiest way to prepare chicken, but for purposes of experimenting with varied recipes and unique chicken dishes, butchering skills come in handy. Thanks to my mother and the benefits of Christmases past, I have an ample supply of high-quality meat cleavers and boning knives, the two tools needed for the task.
For those who buy the industrial (store-bought) product, whole chickens are usually cheaper, and besides, you don't have to buy multiple packages to get all of the chicken cuts. That said, I like this KISS video: "How to Cut a Whole Chicken Into Eight Pieces For Dummies."