Step 1: Check the chicken’s internal temperature
Before you start carving your chicken, you will want to make sure that it is cooked completely. Insert a food thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken and make sure it reads at least 165°F, the minimum internal temperature recommended by the USDA to avoid foodborne illness. If your chicken hasn’t reached 165°F, return it to the oven until it is cooked properly.
Step 2: Let the meat rest
Once the chicken is fully cooked, let it sit for 15-20 minutes. This will give the juices time to circulate and allow for more tender meat. While the chicken is sitting, gather your utensils. You will need a meat fork to steady the chicken, a sharp, straight-edged carving knife, and a cutting board.
Step 3: Remove the trussing string
The trussing string is the string that is used to secure the poultry into a compact shape to ensure even cooking. Before you begin carving, place the chicken, breast facing upwards on your cutting board and cut off any string that was used to secure the legs and wings to the body. If any other materials were used (skewers, pins, etc.), remove them as well.
Step 4: Remove the wings and legs
Stick your meat fork into the center of the chicken to steady it and cut between the breast and thigh. Once you have separated the thigh from the body of the bird, use your knife to sever the joint connecting the upper thigh from the drumstick and use your hands to snap them apart. Use your knife to cut along the side of the leg, starting from the top, and then moving in from each side and remove the leg entirely. Place the legs, thighs, and drumsticks to the side.
Step 5: Prepare the body
Once you have removed the wings and legs, you are ready to take on the body of the bird. Use your fingers to locate the breastbone of the chicken (the long hard bone that runs down the center of the bird) and carve along each side. Use your fingers to remove each breast, then cut them into long strips and arrange them alongside the legs and thighs on your serving plate.