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Boning a Whole Bird - Step-by-Step

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 28 November 2011 at 09:41

Boning Birds Whole

This boning technique is from the Time-Life Book - Poultry - The Good Cook Techniques & Recipes Edition, 1978

 
The photo above is what your boned chicken will look like once you have completely deboned it.
 
The apparently-intricate boning technique can easily be mastered by any cook who can cut up a chicken. As with disjointing, the boning technique is identical for all poultry. All you need are a small, sharp knife and patience. At first the process may take an hour, but as you do more, it will get faster.

The boning technique keeps the bird's skin intact with no slits except for the openings where the butcher cleaned the bird. First, the structure comprising the wishbone, collarbones and shoulder blades is removed. The flesh can then be carefully peeled back from the carcass leaving a limp, meaty sack (see above). The main wing and leg bones are left in place so that the bird (after it's been stuffed, trussed and cooked) will have a natural appearance. Carving then reveals the surprise within. 
 
Step 1 - Removing the wishbone:

 
Pull back the flap of skin from the chicken's neck and then over the shoulder, turning it inside out until your fingers can locate the wishbone - the first bone in the cavity. Use a knife to slit just deep enough into the surrounding flesh to expose the wishbone fully. Snap the wishbone from its attachment at the shoulder joints (see photo above) at the point where it meets the collarbones, shoulder blades and wing bones.
 
Step 2 - Freeing the wings:
 
 
Pull back one wing, as shown above, and pull the flesh away from the shoulder until you have exposed the tough white bands of sinew that hold the wing bone to the collarbone and the shoulder blade. Cut through these sinews to free the wing, but do not pull out the wing bone. Repeat the procedure of pulling back and cutting to free the other wing.

Step 3 - Snapping the collarbones from the breastbone:

 
One end of each collarbone is attached to the corresponding shoulder blade; the other end is joined to the breastbone by a weak and easily broken seam of cartilage. First, clear away the flesh around the collarbones with your fingers, scraping with the knife where necessary; then snap each one free from the breastbone, shown above. 
 
Step 4 - Removing the collarbones and shoulder blades:
 
 
Each collarbone is now attached only by a connecting joint to a shoulder blade -- a thin strut whose other end is embedded in the flesh. Pare back the flesh around one joint to expose it fully. Then remove both bones by pulling steadily on the joint (shown above). If the bone breaks, cut out any remaining pieces with the knife. Repeat the procedure with the other collarbone and shoulder blade. 
 
Step 5 - Exposing the skeleton:
 
 
Pull back the flesh around the shoulders to reveal the top of the skeletal structure comprising the rib cage, breastbone and backbone. Working toward the legs, scrape the flesh from the skeleton, using your fingers to loosen the meat and membrane, and the knife for difficult sections as shown above. Where the backbone is attached by cartilaginous tips of the vertebrae, slice through these tips, leaving them in the flesh.
 
Step 6 - Separating the breastbone:
 
 
When you have freed the skeleton as far as the legs, pop the thighbone from the ball-and-socket hip joints where they join the backbone and cut through the tough connecting cartilage. Leave both leg bones in place. Continue peeling back the flesh, until you reach the end of the breastbone: a thin strip of cartilage connects it to the body. Cut through this strip (see above) to free the breastbone.
 
Step 7 - Removing the skeleton:
 
 
The flesh will now be almost completely peeled away from the skeleton. Lift up the skeleton and cut through the backbone at the tail, (shown above), leaving behind the last three or four vertebrae -- the tail's bone structure. If the lower ribs, which are not firmly attached to the rest of the skeleton remains in the flesh, cut them out. The boned chicken is now ready for stuffing, trussing and cooking.

Stuffing:

 
Fill the boned chicken until it has regained its normal shape and is about two thirds of its former size. During cooking, the bird will shrink slightly, while the stuffing will expand. If the chicken is packed too full of stuffing the skin will split.
 
Trussing:
 
 
Sew up the openings of the chicken with skews and string. So that the chicken retains its shape during cooking, place it in a baking dish that is just slightly wider than the bird or place chopped vegetables next to it as so that it will not spread out. You can also tie baking string around it to hold shape. Or skew the whole bird and tie as shown above. Prepare for roasting by using a thin skewer or knife tip pierce the skin lightly all over the bird, in order to allow the release of fat as it cooks.
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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 November 2011 at 14:39
Here's an "alternate method" for boning a chicken, posted in a YouTube video. It's part of an entire recipe, as I recall, but the boning method itself can be for just about any application....
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 November 2011 at 18:20
Jacques knows his stuff! I wish I knew half of what he knows. A superb technician in all things kitchen and food. At least in a French way. He makes it all look so easy.


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