What's the best way to carve poutry so that you get the most amount of meat? Are there any tricks you've found that will make this easier?
This is difficult to describe without pictures or diagrams. However I have found a great video on YouTube courtesy of Gourmet magazine.
After you have carved the meat from the bones, use the carcass to make stock. After the carcass has boiled for several hours, the connective tissue dissolves into the liquid, and this makes the meat literally fall off the bone, as there is nothing left to hold it. You can usually get a fair amount of meat off of even the most picked over carcass.
Another chicken cutting video; this one is in raw form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iODAToI6_-o
There are 3 ways to use almost all the chicken meat.
Serve the chicken pieces with bones and make it taste so good that people will strip every little piece off themselves. Advantage: makes you popular, doesn't require much work, Disadvantage: no second meal, the meat along the spine is wasted
Cut off the large chunks of meat for the meal, and later use the carcass for soup or stock. Advantage: gives you a second meal, doesn't require much work, Disadvantage: needs large storage in the fridge until being used.
Cut off the large chunks of meat for the meal, and pick off the rest to put in the fridge for sandwiches the next day. Advantage: gives you a second meal, small storage in fridge, Disadvantage: more work, greasy hands
As far as technique:
practice sliding your knife along the bone,
break up curves into more, smaller cuts instead of few, larger cuts, if the chicken is cooked, go ahead and use a small dish for scraps that won't get served on the table.