Carving Whole Roasted Birds
Carving up a whole roasted bird at the table is a time-honored family tradition that I always avoid. I prefer to carve in the kitchen, where I can use tongs, scissors, and rubber gloves if necessary, to cut that bird up into delicious looking pieces.
To carve a whole chicken, use a set of tongs in one hand and a good sharp boning knife in the other. Start first with the breast meat, which should be facing up. Slice down the breast bone. Take little swipes between the meat and the ribs with the tip of the knife to remove the entire breast. Then repeat on the other side.
To remove the leg and thigh, slice through the skin that connects the legs to the body. Grab hold of both legs, (use tongs or gloves if it is hot), and lift the bird by the legs, bending them away from the carcass until the thigh joints break. Trim the rest away with the tip of a knife. Detach the leg from the thigh by cutting down at the joint, and bending it backwards until it breaks so you can cut through the joint. Remove the wings in the same manner, bending them backwards to break the joints, then cut right through.
A bird will yield 8 pieces; 2 wings, 2 thighs, 2 legs and 2 breasts. For most dishes, the breasts are cut in half to create a single portion.