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How to Easily Debone a Chicken (with Deadly Chicken Recipe)

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Warning: Contain vivid images of a yucky, dead, skinned, cut up gallus domesticus, i.e., the chicken.

There are many ways of doing this. After reading this, you'll start with a whole chicken and end up with about ten pieces, 2 scraps and lots of bones for stock. There is no sawing through bones! That sets my teeth on edge!

Why in the world would I have to cut up a chicken. I can buy it already cut up?
Simple answer, it's usually cheaper to buy it whole.

But, you have to evaluate what you are willing to pay for. There are times I'm too busy and just don't feel like dealing with the mess, I'll gladly pay $3-4 dollars a pound for cut up chicken. I'm cheap so I'm willing to pay less and have the time at home, listening to music, and cutting chicken.

Warning: Using a sharp knife will make this a lot easier to cut the chicken and your own digits. Please be careful with the knife!
More warnings on Step 2.
 
 
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Step 1: Tools to start out.

Very simply:
Knife, I prefer a small sharp knife. (small is optional, sharp shouldn't be. Fact: most cuts in the kitchen involve a dull knife.)
Cutting Board
Bowl with plastic bag.
Paper towels
Optional, Kitchen shears, or chicken scissors .

Sharp knife. We aren't going to be sawing through bones. As I mentioned before, that puts my teeth on edge! If you think about the way some people react to fingernails on a chalkboard, you've gotten the right image.

No, we are going to be cutting chicken the easy way: using only a paring knife. You can use a bigger knife but I find I have more control with a small sharp knife.

Cutting board can be optional. We aren't going to be slicing onto a surface. I don't want my counters messed up so I use one.

Bowl with plastic bag. This is a Rachel Ray idea. (I'm neither a fan or not of hers. I like the idea of a 30 minute meal but some of her recipes are a bit out there for my tastes. Ginger Flank Steak with Wasabi Smashed Potatoes with Fried Goat Cheese Salad. No thanks.) Her idea is to get a medium bowl, line it with a plastic grocery bag to toss your scraps in. It keeps you from making trips to the garbage. It will also come in handy later!

Paper towels. Your going to need to wipe the yuckies off your hands and it will help to pull the skin off. Your hands will be slippery and the paper towel will get a good grip. It's also good at the beginning to soak up the chicken juices so they aren't flowing onto the counter. Yuck!

Kitchen shears. My mom called them her chicken scissors. Hers were metal, dishwasher safe and totally used for chicken and nothing else. I'll point out when you could use them.

Hint:
In the picture, the chicken is breast side up. Sometimes it's easier to flip it over to get to other parts.
Duh! I didn't even look at this one when I was looking for an instructable on cutting up a chicken. I was thinking de-boning one could be good to learn. I must say yours is a far better version than what I posted. You might want to change the title tho. It's a little confusing when you look and think you are going to see a chicken de-boned.
Very useful instructable.
rythmicbi3 years ago
As a chef I have to say that you are not "deboning" this chicken.
Deboning is called tunnel boning and in doing so you actually remove the bones with out mutilating the flesh or meat. You are however, breaking down this chicken and quite nicely at that. Tunnel boning, "deboning", is another great method to learn. check in to it. That would be a great instructable for you to update this post.
On another note, getting the fat off of a stock or your chicken dish is easier and less messy (I assume) than a paper towel. Use a larg soup spoon or even better a ladel and skim the fat by removing only the fat a scoop at a time.

Cheers and great article!
all dog food meats need to be cooked all dog/cat food need to be bone free wear rubber gloves when you do this and wash them after they are on your hands and before you take them off. If you then need to answer the door/phone smack an unruley kid , you take them off
155 kills most water borne stuff, but 160 kills almost everything 162 kills trichenosis and other tast bugs. There are bugs that will be tolerant of much hotter climates and we don't worry about those (in general), cause they do not eat US. chicken is , in general, cooked to 172 to ensure a good solid kill through the meat and bone. If you remove bone and skin then you can maybe get away with 165. 165 is sufficiently higher then 162 , so that it does kill all the things that make us sick with one notable exception bse -bovine spongeform encepholitus(spling). Nothing kills that you eat it, if you are suseptable, you die in weeks to about 3 years. nasty nasty passing away. You loose control of your motion and bodily function as your brain melts. At school I was taught how to "glove bone a chicken, that is take all the bones out through the neck except for the wings and tips of the leg bones. We stuffed them, poached them in a brandy /chicken/truffle court bullion and then chilled it and aspic'd it in a white wine white colored aspic. mmmmmm nice instructable
Chicken innards are SO gross-looking, but they do add great flavor to soup stock! Also, you can cook them up and freeze them to give to your cat or dog as an occasional treat.
xmdp4 years ago
I agree. Applies to most, if not all, raw foods.
baxterdog4 years ago
Ach! Don't do this! Boil it down and make dog food or good stock.
The photo in step six doesn't look like breasts, it looks like another favorite part ;) Damnit, now I can't tell if I'm hungry or horny... Which reminds me of something I did with a large piece of chicken a year ago ( insert beastiality and necrophilia joke here)
sir_h_c5 years ago
Tips are not trash! tips go in the stock pot;) I figure if you have time to cut up a chicken, or even better 2 at a time, throw all the bits, pieces and trimmings in a pot instead of the garbage.
Alienor6 years ago
Here you can see how to debone a duck: here.
After you caught the principle you need just some practising, my second try with a chicken was nearly perfect and today I can do it also with squails which is really a challenge because they are so small...*g*
SpinWard (author)  Alienor6 years ago
Wow, that's pretty neat. I just wish I spoke German.
Okay, what do you need to get translated? You start with the duck on it's breast and cut along the backbone. Then you cut along the rib cage from the back of duck to the breastbone(?speech?) with a very sharp and flexible knife which allows you to follow the ribs in the curve to the front. This is the main part. You may cut the wings at the joints, the upper leg bone is separated from it's inner side after putting the duck on it's back. The lower leg bone is mostly cut completely and goes with the wings and the stomach, the heart, and the liver to cooking a stock. Then you can fill the bird with whatever you want, sew it or just close it with toothpicks and weave the thread like threading shoes around the picks and cook it. With a large turkey it will be easier and it is worth the work, also on squabs. I don't do it for an ordinary stuffing but for special occasions; it is very impressing if you can proudly tell your guests you have done it by yourself and it wasn't a "ready-for-the-oven"-dish from the deli. ;-)
SpinWard (author)  Alienor6 years ago
Ah, the legs and wings I couldn't figure out. And I couldn't figure out what the sticks in the legs were. I bet a turkey would be fun and fairly easy because it's bigger. Yeah, that wouldn't be an everyday thing to do. I'll have to try it with my next chickens. If I mangle them, I have chicken bits for stir-fry! :) Thanks for the translation and the idea/site!
I've actually done this with a 22-lb turkey. After that I didn't want to see, smell, taste or even think about eating any poultry for a week.
You're welcome! ;-)
Derin SpinWard5 years ago
Just put the address in translator.google.com.
Do you take the hip bone off with the thigh or do you leave it attached to the backbone? Also, do you leave the "oysters" on the hip bone?
Mattrox5 years ago
wow thats looks so good Cook on lol
shockr5 years ago
You're using a Cutco knife!! I have a whole set.... best knives ever!
SpinWard (author)  shockr5 years ago
OMG, I love this knife! I won't let anyone else use it. I have never held a knife that just fits so good in you hand. For a small paring knife, the handle is long and give me more control. Definitely Best. Knife. Ever! I hope to some day have a set, I have this one and a longer serrated one.
mikeasaurus6 years ago
The beginning of this instructable made me puke a little in my mouth. However by the end I was getting hungry as it looked so tasty. Then I though how strange it was to be so hungry right after throwing up. Gross, but +5!
SpinWard (author)  mikeasaurus6 years ago
Thanks for the comment. I tried not to make it look too yucky. I used a roll of paper towels to get the goo and yuck off.
mdeblasi16 years ago
Is that what is meant by deboning? I would have thought it meant removing the bones entirely. If you have a systematic way of doing that I'd sure appreciate the post. This technique above I learned at my mother's knee, she learned it from her Italian Butcher in Newark NJ in the 1940's. One time I got crazy ambitious and boned an entire chicken from w/in the cavity, leaving a perfectly stuffable tube of meat.. One final thing, those chicken wings, along w/ the neck and any other bone you choose to throw in, make wonderful chicken stock. It's like a simester of culinary school added to everything you add it to. Just cook the bones at a ridiculously low simmer for about 8 hours and the next day your stock should be perfect and clear as glass. Freeze in yoghurt cups, salt it only as you use it and be prepared to amaze.
I have to agree with mdeblasi1. Deboning a chicken, in my book, is to remove the bones while keeping a chicken whole otherwise. I remember the beautiful and delicious stuffed chicken (ham, cheese, eggs, spinach, etc) my mother makes (she gets the deboned chicken from her butcher in Argentina, here in the US I have not found anybody who knows how to do it, or is willing to...).
SpinWard (author)  carlos66ba6 years ago
I can see where that would come from. Sorry for the confusion. I'd LOVE to see how someone would completely debone it and make it stay whole. My goal was to cut a whole chicken up into separate manageable pieces. And yes I should have made stock from the bones. Very cheap and using what you've got. In this instructable, I threw them away. Sorry 'bout that. I cut up 3 chickens the other day and made some amazing stock!
Don't throw away the giblets! Haven't you ever heard of fried chicken liver and giblets? Yummy!
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