, Gloucester, MA


August 21, 2013

Butchering a chicken

Butcher of Belchertown shows you how

Mary Poehnelt, the Butcher from Belchertown, was recently named the runner-up on FOX’s hit reality show “Hell’s Kitchen,” after defeating stiff competition and creating remarkably innovative dishes.

In the video accompanying this article online (, Mary shows us her unique way of butchering a whole chicken.

Butchering a chicken, Mary says, is a highly effective way of maximizing product and minimizing cost. Instead of purchasing chicken breasts, stock and wings, butcher the chicken yourself to save money, waste less food and eat fresher.

The butchering process is surprisingly fast and easy — it should not take you more than 20 minutes. All you need is a raw, whole chicken, a meat knife and cleaver, a cutting board, clean hands and a little bit of spunk, and you are ready to butcher like the master herself.

Butchering a chicken

What you need:

1 raw, whole chicken

Meat knife


Cutting board


1. Wash hands.

2. Pat down bird with paper towel.

3. Remove bag of gizzards (gizzards can be used in gravy, stock, pâté, etc.)

4. Cut through joint of chickens wing. In general, the joint is the best place to cut.

5. Cut off tip of wing at joint.

6. Flip bird over.

7. Cut the loose, flappy skin around the leg.

8. Flip chicken on stomach and break legs, bending them all the way back until they touch each other.

9. Cut the chicken at oyster (bump in back) and pull back meat, including the leg. The oyster is the most succulent part of the chicken.

10. Separate leg at joint (yield a thigh and a drum).

11. Using a meat cleaver, cut between ribcage and back at the joint all the way down to divide bird in half .

12. Using the cleaver, divide the back of the chicken into small pieces to use for chicken stock.

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