Halving a Bird

Halving a Bird

Cutting a bird into halves is an especially important technique for use on smaller birds, such as Cornish game hens and broiler chickens, that are to be prepared by grilling. If the bones are left intact during grilling, they provide some protection against scorching and help to control shrinkage. This technique is also important when birds are roasted whole, but served as semi-boneless halves.

The first step is often removing the wing tips. Then the bird is cut down along the backbone using either a boning knife, a chef's knife or poultry shears. The wing tips and backbone should be saved to use when you prepare stock.

Removing the keel bone

Once the backbone has been cut away, the keel bone is also removed. Lay the bird out flat, bones facing up. Make an incision just at the top of the keel bone to release it. Then bend the bird so that the keel bone pops out. Cut down the length of the breast to finish dividing the bird into halves.

Preparing a halved bird to grill or broil

Birds that are to be grilled can be given an attractive shape by removing the end of the drumstick using the heel of the chef's knife. Then a slit is cut into the skin over the thigh. The end of the drumstick is inserted, creating a neat, compact halved bird that is easy to handle.

More Cooking Guide

Visitors Currently Online: 12