Printable version (pdf)

Parts Identification

Further processing of whole carcasses has allowed poultry to be sold in many forms. Identifying poultry parts commonly found in a retail store is important to the consumer. Below are photographs and definitions for 24 of the more common chicken parts found in a meat display case. Parts from any of the three weight groups (broilers, heavy broilers, and turkeys) may be used in the contest. 

1. Whole Breast

The WHOLE BREAST is the intact breast separated from the remainder of the chicken at the junction of the vertebral and sternal ribs. The sternal ribs remain attached to the breast bone and the vertebral ribs are attached to the back. May be displayed with skin-side up or skin-side down.

Figure 1. Whole breast

Figure 1. Whole breast  (click on the image to enlarge).

2. Breast with Ribs

The BREAST WITH RIBS is the intact breast separated from the backbone at the juncture with the back. The entire rib cage is attached to the breast. It may be displayed with the skin side up or skin side down.

Figure 2. Breast with ribs.

Figure 2. Breast with ribs  (click on the image to enlarge).

3. Breast Quarter

The BREAST QUARTER is half of the breast with the wing and back portion attached.

Figure 3. Breast quarterFigure 3. Breast quarter  (click on the image to enlarge).

4. Breast Quarter without Wing

As the name indicates, the BREAST QUARTER WITHOUT WING is the breast quarter with the back portion attached, but without the wing.

Figure 4. Breast quarter without wing

Figure 4. Breast quarter without the wing (click on the image to enlarge).

5. Split Breast 

The SPLIT BREAST is the whole breast cut in half parallel to breast bone to create approximately two equal halves. One or both halves may be displayed with or without ribs.

Figure 5. Split breast

Figure 5. Split breast (click on the image to enlarge).

6. Boneless Breast

The BONELESS BREAST is the whole breast with the bones removed. The skin can be attached or removed.

Figure 6. Boneless breast with (left) and without (right) the skin attached.Figure 6. Boneless breast (click on the image to enlarge).

7. Boneless Split Breast

The BONELESS SPLIT BREAST is a half breast with the bones removed.  The skin can be attached or removed. 

Figure 7. Boneless split breast with skin removed.

Figure 7. Boneless split breast (click on the image to enlarge).

8. Tenderloin

The TENDERLOIN is the inner pectoral muscle that lies up against the keel bone. It is the long slender muscle that is removed from the inner portion of the breast meat.

Figure 8. Tenderloins

Figure 8. Tenderloins (click on the image to enlarge).

9. Leg Quarter

The LEG QUARTER is thigh and drumstick with a portion of the back attached. The tail may or may not be removed

Figure 9. Leg quarter

Figure 9. Leg quarter (click on the image to enlarge).

10. Whole Leg

The WHOLE LEG is the thigh and drumstick with the back portion removed. The ribeye muscle or ‘oyster’ may be attached. The oyster is the piece of meat on the back that lies just in front of the hip joint. 

Figure 10. Whole leg

Figure 10. Whole leg (click on the image to enlarge).

11. Thigh with Back

The THIGH WITH BACK is the upper portion of the leg quarter that is separated at the knee and includes part of the back beyond the hip joint.

Thigh with back

Figure 11. Thigh with back (click on the image to enlarge).

12. Thigh

The THIGH is the upper portion of the whole leg that is separated at the knee and hip joints. The back portion is not attached.

Figure 12. Thigh

Figure 12. Thigh (click on the image to enlarge).

13. Boneless Thigh

The BONELESS THIGH is the whole thigh with the bone removed. The skin may or may not be attached.

Figure 13. Boneless thigh

Figure 13. Boneless thigh (Click on image to enlarge).

14. Drumstick

The DRUMSTICK is the lower portion of the leg that is separated at the hock and knee joints.

Figure 14. Drumstick

Figure 14. Drumstick (click on the image to enlarge).

15. Boneless Drumstick

The BONELESS DRUMSTICK is the lower portion of the leg that is separated at the hock and knee joints with the bone removed. The skin may or may not be attached.

Figure 15. Boneless drumstick

Figure 15. Boneless drumstick  (click on the image to enlarge).

6. Whole Wing

The WHOLE WING is the entire wing with all muscle, bone, and skin attached except that the wingtip may be removed.

Figure 16. Whole wing

Figure 16. Wing (Click on image to enlarge).

17. Wing Drumette

The WING DRUMETTE is the part of the wing between the second and third joint (shoulder).

Figure 17. Wing drumette

Figure 17. Wing drumette  (click on the image to enlarge).

18. Wing Flat

The WING FLAT is the part of the wing between the first and second joints of the wing. This is the part of the wing with two bones between the wingtips and the drumette.

Figure 18. Wing flat

Figure 18. Wing flat  (click on the image to enlarge).

19. Back

The BACK is the back of the carcass beginning at the base of the neck and extending back to the tail. It includes the vertebral ribs, hip bones, and attached flesh. All or portions of the oyster may also be attached. The oyster is the piece of meat on the back that lies just in front of the hip joint. The tail may or may not be removed.

Figure 19. Back skin-side down (with vertebral ribs visible) and skin-side up.

Figure 19. Back skin side down (left) and skin side up (right)  (click on the image to enlarge).

20. Neck

The NECK is composed of the neck bones with flesh attached. The skin may or may not be present.

Figure 20. Neck with and without the skin attached.

Figure 20. Neck with (left) and without (right) skin  (click on the image to enlarge).

21. Paws

PAWS is the whole foot with the cuticle removed and cut midway to the hock joint.

Figure 21. Paws

Figure 21. Paws  (click on the image to enlarge).

22. Gizzard

The GIZZARD is the thick-walled muscular organ that has been cross-sectioned into two halves.

Figure 22. Gizzard

Figure 22. Gizzard outside up (left) and inside up (right) (click on the image to enlarge).

23. Liver

The LIVER is the reddish-brown, wedge-shaped organ with four lobes of unequal size and shape.

Figure 23 - LiverFigure 23. Liver (click on the image to enlarge).

24. Heart

The HEART is the triangular-shaped, four-chambered muscular organ.

Figure 24 - Hearts

Figure 24. Hearts (click on the image to enlarge).