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Cutting a chicken breast in half?

I have seen so many cooks and articles where it shows cutting a large chicken breast in half crosswise. I don't have a word for this -- maybe "breast butcher". When I was a kid my mother did fried chicken ALOT and she always cut out the pulley bone which was a nice side which left two small pieces of breast to fry. My sister and I always fought over the pulley bone. I would never consider cutting a breast crosswise. It makes both pieces look like thighs. I like a breast to look like a breast.

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  1. So don't cut it then. Simple solution to your dilemma.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rjbh20

      I think breast these days are too huge to cook in one piece. Maybe organic chickens are smaller but some of the breast I see in stores look like at least two servings. Of course I don't have to cut them, I was just comment on other cutting a chicken breast in half.

      1. re: Cflower5

        When I get one of those huge 9-10oz breast halves, I like to pound it to a uniform thickness first (usually about 1/2") then I cut it sort of on the diagonal so you end up with 2 pieces that still pretty much have that oblong breast shape, tapered on the end.

    2. I think the only advantage to it is to make the pieces more uniform in size so they cook at about the same speed, particularly useful with today's monster breasts. If you don't need that, don't worry about it.

      1. I do it all the time to ensure all pieces cook evenly. So sue me.

        1. I don't care what it looks like, how it tastes is what matters. I cut them in half when I feel the need to for the recipe.

          1. The enormous breasts found in most shops nowadays are also far more than any of us can eat in a single sitting -- so ours are almost always cut in half (once in a great while, a really huge one will be cut into thirds)

            1. I've never seen people doing it crosswise, but I've seen it lengthwise... which basically results in 2 pieces that still look like breasts, and are just a more reasonable size for one person to eat. I do it all the time because most of the breasts I get are in the 9-10oz range, and 4.5-5 is a more appropriate portion for me. They also cook faster when sliced that way, since they're thinner.

              2 Replies
              1. re: juliejulez

                I've never seen it done crosswise unless it had already been halved along the keel (which sacrifices the wishbone - I assume that's what OP refers to as pulley bone, a term I've never heard before). This creates 4 equal size pieces of breast meat, which is good if you are looking for more white meat servings in a smaller chicken, or conversely, if the breasts are very large.

                1. re: greygarious

                  My mother used the term pulley bone, but I didn't know what part of the bird she was speaking of...

                1. I live in a remote area & my husband doesn't cook. I enjoy this site because I get to read and participate in everyday common discussions about cooking. Many of you seem to regard this forum as a place people can only post what you perceive to be an all important, essential issue. Then you go so far as to insult someone. I'm sorry. I don't agree with you. I value Cflower5's question.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: i_am_Lois

                    The problem is, the OP did not really ask a question. She basically came on here with a negative attitude towards an approach some of us seem to practice. If she had really asked a question and truly wanted to know why some people do this, she would not have been met with some of the snarky answers she has received (mine included up above). In essence, she came out firing, so some of us just shot back. It makes for a passionate discussion. :)

                  2. I did not mean to ruffle feathers here. I should have finished my train if thought before getting sidetrack as usual. I realize why some cut breast in half. When a breast can weight 12-14 oz theses days that's too much meat for the average person to eat. I never buy boneless breast because I think anything cooked with a bone is better. If I need breast i always buy whole chickens and cut up. Then I can cut a pulley bone. You can't get a pulley bone from breast halves. It does seem like whole chicken breast are much smaller than the separate breast halves sold in stores. Sorry I got off on wrong foot with this discussion. A wishbone piece is a nice piece of white meat though especially when fried.

                    Hey, I come from an area where people who prune crepe myrtles too much are called crepe murders. At least I didn't call anyone a chicken murderer or hacker.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Cflower5

                      You did use the term "breast butcher" which put me off immediately.

                      1. re: ttoommyy

                        Forget it then, I guess I was trying to find out if people do cut their breast in half like that. I didn't know this was going to become a big deal. Sorry I will try to only observe from now on.

                        1. re: Cflower5

                          "Sorry I will try to only observe from now on."

                          Please don't. Maybe those of us who cut chicken breasts in half just took offense at the way your worded your query/observation. To be honest, I almost felt like you were looking for an "argument" so that is why I shot back. I apologize if I offended you. But please, do continue to post.

                          1. re: ttoommyy

                            Sorry, I get upset when I see chef's crack an egg directly into the bowl, that's now the way my mother or grandmother taught me so sometimes I think my way is best -- which I know is not right. I've been cranky for over a year now after having knee replacements that are cooperating so I must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. I'm not the kind of person to pick a fight because I know I probably won't win :).

                      2. I just wanna know where are the MONSTER thighs??? I can't even find turkey thighs in the stores anymore.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Nanzi

                          I can find them , buy them often, but they are small.
                          I now mostly buy whole chickens and cut them up.
                          Cheaper and the parts are proportional.

                          1. re: Nanzi

                            my local butcher was selling the biggest chicken thighs I have ever seen a few weeks ago.

                            Just as with the larger chicken breasts, we split them between two of us.

                            1. re: Nanzi

                              I've got some leg quarters defrosting that have really large thighs on them... one quarter is 15oz, the other is 17oz.

                              But, the smaller size is why I love boneless skinless thighs... I can take one out for a meal and it's a perfect size. Breasts, i have to figure out ways to use up the whole thing, which means leftovers, which isn't bad, but I cook for one person so there's only so many leftovers a girl can eat in a week :)

                              1. re: Nanzi

                                Wegmans has turkey thighs. Monster thighs I find in nearly every store.

                                1. re: Nanzi

                                  My chicken guys have thighs worthy of those frankenstein breasts, but thankfully, they also carry all parts from smaller birds. And they sell whole smaller birds which are also getting harder to find.

                                2. My mom cut them crosswise, as did both her mother and mother-in-law. The trick of first detaching what in Illinois is called the wishbone was unknown among all folk of my ilk or acquaintance; grabbing the correct breast half (which I quickly learned to recognize) was how one came into possession of it. The downside is that, yes, the back half could be mistaken for a thigh. This led to frequent disappointment, since I loved thighs (still do). The only thing I really liked about that forward piece of breast was the wishbone; the meat was just chewy and boring.

                                  1. If you're making fried chicken, cutting the breast in half means more crispy fried breading to coat both halves, ;-)

                                    If they were far too large I would cut them in half as well, otherwise they would take way too long to cook all the way through - running the risk of either raw chicken or burnt crust.

                                    1. I think I've read that KFC similarly gets 3 "breast pieces" per chicken, using the strategy you describe - Left, center with wishbone and meat on either side, and right.

                                      1. When I'm making cutlets, I cut the breast in half horizontally before I pound it. Otherwise, they wouldn't pound out as thin as I want them. Perhaps Cflower is referring to frying chicken?