Be Your Own Butcher: How to Cut Chicken Wings

Chow on 08.24.11
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A couple of weekends ago, I gave my friend the task of cutting up the chicken wings for the grill. I explained to her that each whole wing would need to be cut into three pieces: the drumstick and the flapper for the grill, and the itty-bitty wing tip saved for stock. There was a big bowl of ‘em -- 5 pounds worth of wings for her to work on -- so I handed her a big cutting board, my sharp chef’s knife and let her get started while I tended to another dish.

A few minutes later, I come back to check on her. Whack! Thwap! Hack! Oh. My. She was gripping the knife like she was going to battle. Next to her was a small pile of mangled chicken stumps that no longer resembled wings. Chicken bone shards were all over the meat, and it was a mess!

It was time to give her a little lesson on how to break down a chicken wing. No thwacking, hacking or whacking, just easy cutting. It’s all in how you hold the wing.

Here’s a chicken wing. You’ve got the drumstick part on the left, the flapper thingy in the middle (yes, that’s my technical term for the flat piece) and the wing tip on the far right.



Turn it around so that it faces you like this. It’s easier to see the three distinct parts this way.

We’ll cut off the drumstick first.

Hold it up so that you are forming a “V.”



Hold your knife at the center of this “V.”

And now just go straight down, cutting through the space between the drum and flapper.

It should be nice and easy, you’re cutting into the joint which is just cartilage, not bone.

Now we’ll cut off the wing tip.



Hold the wing so that the wing tip is on the right. Again, hold it like a “V” and place your knife at the center of this “V.”

Super easy. No mangled chicken stumps!



Save the wing tip in a freezer bag for the next time you make stock.

Photos: Jaden Hair

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