How to Debone a Whole Chicken
No matter where you’re from, one of the most universal dishes is chicken. But, as comforting as a roast chicken can be, butchering one is a whole other story. Deboning a whole chicken takes skill, patience, and the right tools. But with a little bit of practice and the right technique, it’s completely doable. Here we’ll break down how to debone a whole chicken.
What You’ll Need
First thing, make sure you have all the things you’ll need handy before you get to work, including:
- A sharp chef’s knife
- A pair of kitchen scissors
- A wooden cutting board
- A couple of bowls for parts
Step 1: Prepare the Chicken
Start by rinsing your chicken off with warm water and then patting it dry. Then, place the chicken breast side up on the cutting board.
Step 2: Locate the Breastbone
Lay the chicken’s wing away from its body and locate the breastbone. That’s the T-shaped bone that runs along the center of the chest. Use the tip of your sharp knife to remove the thin membrane that’s connected to both sides of the breastbone. Now you should see two oval-shaped openings on either side of the breastbone.
Step 3: Separate the Leg From the Breast
Use your sharp knife to cut the joint between the leg and the breast. To do this, slide the blade of your knife between the two bones of the joint, and then use your knife’s point to pry the leg away from the breast. This will require some strength and force, so be sure to be gentle. You don’t want to split the leg bone.
Step 4: Separate the Breastbone From the Ribs
Position your knife against the breastbone, with the blade angled downward. Then, use the blade to chip away at the ribs beneath the breastbone. This is where your kitchen scissors will come in handy. Once you’ve cut away the ribs, the breastbone should come right off.
Step 5: Peel Away the Skin
Using kitchen scissors and your fingers, carefully peel away the skin from the breast and legs. Then remove any visible fat. Don’t worry about removing every single bit of fat, but do make sure you get rid of all of the large chunks.
How do I make sure the knife is sharp?
To ensure your knife is sharp enough for deboning, hone it with a master steel. It’s a metal bar that helps slide off any tiny, jagged burrs from the blade surface. Doing this helps protect the blade from dulling while also keeping it safe to use.
Is it easier to debone a raw or cooked chicken?
Raw chicken is much easier to debone because the meat is firmer and the bones are easier to identify and separate. However, it’s still possible to debone a cooked chicken if you take your time and be gentle.
Deboning a whole chicken takes skill and practice, but with the right technique and the right tools, it’s completely doable. Plus, the result is juicy and tender meat that’s perfect for a variety of meals. So don’t let the daunting task of butchering a chicken detract from your enjoyment of it. With the steps provided here, you’ll be a deboning master in no time.
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