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In this recipe in minute 7:00 the cook separates the chicken skin from the breast to put butter between the skin and the breast for basting. When I tried that (very slowly) it always felt like I was about to rip the skin. When I finished a sizable part of the breast was left exposed because some of the skin ripped.

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    I wouldn't know how to explain it any better than your video...and with that you can even see what she is doing. – moscafj Mar 2 '18 at 14:46
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I'd say experience ?

You need to try it a few times to get the feel of the skin and the meat and how much pressure is needed to separate the skin from the meat.

Try putting more pressure on the meat itself and not on the skin (hard to describe).

The quality of the chicken is also important, most supermarket chicken have crappy skin and will break easily.

If you try on a good free-range chicken, the skin will be sturdier (personal experience, here).

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    I know what you mean about putting pressure on the meat, its kind of like you push the meat down with the ends of your fingers then slide them forward to come up under the skin... so hard to describe! – Spagirl Mar 2 '18 at 16:51
  • It might also help to use a skinning knife like you would if you were butchering and decided to skin the chicken instead of plucking it. Of course, that also requires a fair amount of practice to do without putting holes in the skin. – Perkins Mar 2 '18 at 20:57
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In addition to practice and buying a quality chicken, these things help:

  • Take off any rings or jewelry.
  • Trim your fingernails so they don't cut the skin.
  • Start with a fresh bird: the longer the time since the bird being slaughtered, the more fragile the skin.

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