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Mar 29, 2009 05:38 PM

What is the best tool for dismembering a chicken?

I know it is a boning knife (I guess), but there are a lot of boning knives. There are short 5" and long 7". There are stiff and flexible. There are a couple of Japanese versions that are different then the European ones. A Honesuki and a Hankotsu and another one something like Garasuki. Not sure if I have the spelling correct.
OK guys, you who have actually used these knives and are not just guessing, which is best for cutting up a chicken into parts and then skinning and deboning it?

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  1. Well, it all depends on the size of the bird. For me personally, I prefer the Messermeister Meridian Elite 5" stiff boning knife. Short enough so you can control it around all those nooks and crannys...especially the oyster. To me using a long boning knife is like trying to write a note with a 12" the end it should be the knife your most comfortable handling. I knock out a 40# case of wogs in 20 minutes using a combination of stiff boning and cleaver.

    1 Reply
    1. re: vanmartin

      Kitchen shears -- buy a pair that be taken apart easily for cleaning. ATK did a bit awhile back. Not that you can't take a chicken apart with a boning knife, it's just that shears make quick work of it. (A boning knife works a bit better when it comes time to split the breast.)

    2. I use a stiff 5 " and kitchen shears which work best for me. I use both, but honestly I just ask the butcher, he does it no charge. Why not? Less work for me.

      1. My preference is a heavy wusthof chef's knife (v. a lighter chef's) to breakup a bird - the joints are easy to find. For butterflying, I use the kitchen shears. The shorter flexible boning knives are saved for shoulders or shanks along with using the heavy chef's.

        It really comes down to your comfort and experience using the knives or cleavers. There is no right way (eg check out youtube for the myriad of styles!).

        1 Reply
        1. re: alwayscooking

          Very true, use what you feel comfortable with. I use my favorite knife and shears, but my friends using something resembling an axe :))) He loves it. I can't even begin to use it. Some work better than others, but you are the one doing the cooking. So make sure it feels good and you are comfortable with it.

          Good advice AC

        2. I use a 150mm honesuki to break down chickens and large roasts. Don't know if it's the best but works well. The honesuki is thick enough to go through small bones and joints with ease. I wouldn't use it to hack a leg bone in half. It has a nice point for getting the silver skin off meat but is not flexible. It is near single bevel with a 95/5 asymmetric grind. Easy to sharpen and retains edge well.

          1. Best tool for dismembering a chicken? Depends if it's already dead or still alive and flapping.