How to Use Different Cuts of Chicken

January 18, 2020 3:01 am Published by Leave your thoughts

When you’re purchasing chicken at the grocery store or the butcher, you either have the option to purchase the whole bird, or to purchase any of the four main parts: breasts, thighs, wings or drumsticks. Here’s a quick look at these four different cuts of chicken in Williamsport, PA and the ways in which they are most commonly used.

Whole bird

The simplest and most common way to cook an entire chicken is to roast it, similar to how you’d roast a turkey. Poaching with vegetables is also an option. When the chicken is finished cooking, you can either cut off meat and eat it for a meal or use the cooked meat for sandwiches and salads.

Another option is to flatten the chicken, which is a strategy commonly used for barbecuing a whole bird.

In any case, once you’ve cut off as much meat as you’re going to use for your primary purpose, you can use the rest of the carcass for making chicken stock. There are plenty of recipes and instructions available online for you to follow with this, but basically it involves boiling the meat off the carcass with vegetables, water and spices to make a stock for soup.


The chicken breast is by far the most versatile section of the meat. This is the light meat on the chicken, and it has much less fat than, say, the thighs. It is easy to cut up and put into stir fries, and can be marinated, grilled, oven-roasted, stuffed, pan-fried, baked and so much more. When cooked it can be used in salad, soup and sandwiches, as well as plenty of other types of recipes.

You can purchase chicken breasts individually without the skin, with the tenderloin attached or with the skin on. Chicken breasts also tend to come in packs of anywhere from two to eight at the grocery store.


Chicken thighs frequently come as fillets with the skin and bone removed, but you can also purchase thigh cutlets that have the bone and skin still attached. The thigh meat is darker than the breast meat and has a bit more fat, but this also provides a bit more flavor.

You can slice the thigh fillets to put into casseroles or stir fries, or use the cutlets for bakes and casseroles. You can also find thighs that still have the drumstick attached (a cut referred to as “Chicken Maryland”), which are great for barbecuing, roasting and baking.

Wings and drumsticks

Wings and drumsticks are cheaper and can come individually or in bulk. These parts of the chicken also have darker meat. They’re ideally made with a glaze, marinade or rub, and can be baked, roasted or barbecued. You eat them with your fingers rather than with a fork and knife as you would the other cuts of chicken.

For more information about different cuts of chicken and how best to use them, we encourage you to contact Tony’s Delicatessen & Fresh Meats or visit our deli in Williamsport, PA today.

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