How To Save Money on Chicken

How To Save Money on Chicken

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This is something I’ve been doing for a long time, and it must have saved me thousands of pounds over the years!

Not everyone realises that supermarkets charged you up to £2 every time they make a cut into your chicken. Buying chicken whole and breaking them down yourself can really save you money, and it’s not too difficult!

Here I’m using 3 supermarket bought, organic chickens, but the same principal would apply to any chicken.

I spent a total of £42.17 on my 3 chickens.

Break Down The Chickens

Equipment needed for this: Boning Knife or Poultry Shears.

By butchering the chickens myself, I’m saving up to £2 per cut!

I start by removing the whole legs from the carcasses by cutting through the hip joint. Next, through the leg joint, separating the drumsticks and thighs. If the foot/heel is still attached at the end of the drumstick, remove that too, but keep hold of it with the carcass. Moving onto the wings, separating from the carcass, and finely I remove the breasts, by slicing all the way down the centre of the chest, keeping the knife close to the bones. First one side, and then the other.

It’s that simple!

Butchered whole chicken

Out of my 3 whole chickens, I’m now left with; 6 x whole wings, 6 x thighs, 6 x drumsticks, and 6 x whole breasts.

You can stop here if you like, but I like to break it down further.
Firstly, by separating the wings into drumettes and flats, by cutting off the wing tips (save these by the way, they’re still good to use), and then slicing through the wing joint.
I also separate the breast mini fillet, or tender, from the breast. These general just pull apart with a gentle tug.

As well as all these chicken portions, what’s left behind is also very useable.
The carcasses, the feet/heels, and the wing tips can be roasted with a few vegetables then turned into an amazing chicken stock, which can be used for soups, sauces, and gravy. 1 chicken carcass will make roughly 1 litre of fresh chicken stock.
If you don’t have time to make the stock now, squash the carcasses down, place in to a freezer bag or Tupperware along with the feet/heels & wing tips, and freeze until you have the time.

Freeze the Chicken

Now that you have all this chicken, you’re going to need to store it. The problem is, if you put all the chicken portions into a big Tupperware and freeze it, they’ll all stick together, and you’ll have to defrost the lot when you want to use it.

To get round this problem, line a couple of your freezer shelves with parchment paper (if you have a chest freezer, wrap a couple of chopping boards).
Lay the chicken portions out in a single layer and hit the power freeze button, if you have one.
Once the chicken has frozen, it can now be placed in large Tupperware containers, back into the freezer and can be removed in individual portions.
Refer to your freezers owner’s manual to see how long it will last.

How much did I save on chicken?

This is how I worked out what I saved by breaking the chickens down myself.

Once I had butchered the chickens into their individual portions, I weighed them out, and worked out how much they would have cost (at today’s prices*), had I bought them butchered and packaged by the supermarket.

CutWeight price p/Kg*Supermarket cost £
Drumsticks 0.788£7.98£6.29
Breast fillets 0.266£28.01£7.45
Stock3 ltr£6.00 p/Ltr£18.00

*prices at time of writing

The total cost of the pre cut chicken if I had bought from the supermarket, not including the stock would have been £65.10.

Saving me £22.93.

If I include the cost of fresh chicken stock as well the total is £83.10.

Saving me a grand total of £40.93

That’s almost half price!!!

Other Bonuses

If you are environmentally minded, this is a fantastic way of cutting down on plastic packaging. Imagine if I had bought all this separately, how much packaging would there be?

There’s also another great reason for doing this that may appeal to you?
You get to buy yourself another awesome knife with all the money you save! 

This is a Honesuki, a Japanese poultry/boning knife. It’s designed specifically for this job and makes very quick work of breaking down a whole chicken, or boning something like a lamb shoulder. It’s single bevelled edge allows you can easily cut close to the bone. Furthermore, it’s great to use, I would highly recommend.

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