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What's the deal with chicken and meat on the bone?

Went to Costco last week to stock up on chicken breasts with bone. They have since stopped selling it in central Ohio. Said that they get a couple extra selling days out of boneless, skinless breasts and that almost all of their meat is boneless as well. Huh? I much prefer chicken on the bone, the bones seem to impart more flavor, plus I like to stuff under the chicken skin with a variety of fillings. My only option seems to be to buy whole chickens and cut them up myself. While I am perfectly capable of doing so, there is only me in the house lately. My dark meat eaters have left.

So, I went to the local grocery store and noticed a HUGE price differential for chicken on the bone as well. First my pin bone sirloins & 7 bone chuck roasts disappeared, now my chicken breasts. Oh dear!

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  1. It's all about ease of use for the consumer. I too prefer meat on the bone, and am always amazed at the difference in price for the chicken cutlets. They make a fortune off of people who don't feel they have the time or the skills to cut their own chicken, or from people who just don't like doing it.

    1 Reply
    1. It's only me (and my dog) left now as my "young un's" have moved out a couple years ago but this week Food Lion has whole chickens for .59 per pound so I'm going tomorrow and load up my deep freezer because where else can you get chicken breasts for that price? The rest will be used for an assortment of other delicious meals...

      1. Many years ago jfood did a breakeven analysis on bone-in versus no-bone chicken breasts. The answer he achieved was ~$1.00 difference between buyingthe bone-in and removing yourself or having the store do it.

        Yes there should be an "adder" for the butcher's time but any good butcher can de-bone a whole chicken breat in under 1 minutes since jfood can.

        7 Replies
        1. re: jfood

          Since I find most boneless breasts too thick for my uses, I buy breasts on the bone. I slice off a thin boneless breast (cutlet thickness), and cook the rest on the ribcage.

          My wife and older daughter eat the boneless, my younger daughter and self eat the rest.

          If I want to make something completely boneless, I save and freeze the rib cages for use in making soup or stock. The natural gelatin in the bones is crucial for good soup/stock.
          When I first married current wife, I couldn't understand why her chicken soup was so tasteless, until I saw her make it with boneless breats. In essence, she was serving poaching liquid, not soup.

          1. re: bagelman01

            buythe bome-in and debone yourself./ then take a mallet and flatten to the desired thinness.

            By the way while jfood is away, mrs jfood is giving me tons of chicken soup and carrots while she is eating his Mexican Chicken soup. Hot diggity dog.

            1. re: jfood

              99% of the chicken I buy is whole, boning is easy and fast.
              However, we do keep a bag of IQF breasts in the freezer for use by the 22 year old.
              She won't touch chicken on the bone, and being a lefty her knife skills are non-existent. She will uses a kitchen shears to cut her food.

              1. re: bagelman01

                "being a left her knife skills are non-existent"


                signed, Lefty w/knife skills

                1. re: laliz

                  this is an accurate observation, NOT a comments on left handed people in general. She is 22 going on 12 in many ways, butgoing on 40 in many others.................

                  1. re: bagelman01

                    "She is 22 going on 12 in many ways."

                    OUCH! I think I know what you mean, but I hope she doesn't know your handle here. My daughter was afraid to cut an apple until she was 16 or so, and I get the evil eye if I ever dare tell that in public. She's now 34, with a big 6-figure marketing job. Things change.

                2. re: bagelman01

                  Huh? I'm left-handed too and have no problem cutting food or boning a chicken or most anything else. That is about the lamest excuse I've ever heard.

                  Kitchen knives aren't "handed", any more than forks or spoons are. Some kitchen tools are indeed handed, including some kinds of shears and scissors.

                  I always buy chicken on the bone. You get the bones as a bonus if you are boning them, say to make a stir-fry.

          2. Oh dear, they're breeding animals without bones now? What next?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Rmis32

              Sure looks like it, went to 2 shops for prime ribs. They cut the ribs off and the fat cap. Must a transfat thing.

            2. We need to increase the calcium in chicken diets.

              1. I have no real idea why they don't offer both, but it may be my daughter's wishing it so. For some odd reason she has always had an aversion to things like chicken and ribs on the bone, but has no problem with the exact same thing boneless. She IS kindof a texture eater, but this one has me stumped. She's 34 and the only thing that has changed is that she will now eat these things when she has no choice - as a kid she wouldn't at all.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Midlife

                  I am ashamed to admit it on this board, but until recently (I'm not too much older than your daughter) I had a major aversion to chicken on the bone. I still can't eat chicken wings (too high a bone to meat raito), have to be out of the room for whole turkey and chicken dismembering, but I at least I can finally deal with bone-in chicken breasts!

                  1. re: Foodie in Friedberg

                    What's up with that? My daughter can't explain it but she knows it's real. We joke that she may have been scared by some animal remains when she was young.

                    1. re: Midlife

                      I can't explain it, either! And I'm really not a picky eater (chicken wings are one of the few things I flat out refuse to eat).

                  2. re: Midlife

                    My 32-year-old son won't eat any meat on the bone; he said if his teeth graze the bone (like while eating a chicken leg or thigh) it makes him physically ill. Maybe it's the same with your daughter.

                    1. re: chowdawggy

                      It may be. Are there any psychiatrists on this board? That's an interesting thing if it's a real phobia.

                  3. I made roast rib on the bone for Christmas. Off the bone doesn't compare for flavour and tenderness. And there's the fun of chewing the meat off the bones.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: smartie

                      as my late great-grandmother always preached: "The nearer the bone, the sweeter the meat"

                    2. A food executive who's company made breaded boneless breasts for the fast food industry explained this to me 20 years ago -- Why ship bone?

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Cameraman

                        Bone is rich in calcium - it isn't waste.

                        1. re: Cameraman

                          makes sense to me. except for "chowhound" type people the vast majority (especially in the younger crowd) does see bone as waste, something to be cut away before you cook, or that you have to take time to eat around if you cook with it- and cooking bone-in meats takes longer as well.

                          it's not just profit for the seller, it is convenience for the user.

                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                            I'm in that younger group that strongly prefers boneless chicken breasts. The only time we get bone-in is when we're planning on grilling them.

                          2. re: Cameraman

                            I agree with y'all, but I think the exec's remarks address the op's question.

                            1. re: Cameraman

                              I may be missing something in the exec's argument. From the seller's perspective, what's wrong with shipping bone if it's at the same price as the meat? I can see a restaurant chain not wanting to pay to ship bone if it's going to trim it off before cooking, but retail sales of meat is different.

                          3. Come to Puerto Vallarta. Costco has both boneless skinless and with bone and skin chicken breasts. Roughly $1.80 and $2.25 per pound respectively.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mexivilla

                              Adore PV! Have been 4 times. Can I stay at your house? I will be glad to cook for you.