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Mar 19, 2010 01:23 AM

Help, I need to learn how to bone a chicken breast

I've never really learned how to do this and my favorite butcher is now charging $8.50 lb for boned, skinless breasts.

Do I need to buy a boning knife? If so, what kind? Right now, I only have 2 small paring knives and some butcher knives that are not suitable.

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  1. Youtube has a number of vids with instructions, it's an easy process and yes, you can do it with a paring knife, if that's what you have available:
    I checked out the second video from the left, time 1:09 or search "How to debone a chicken breast." There were many more examples.
    Throw the bones and skin in the freezer for chicken stock when you've collected enough.
    $8.50 lb is outrageous; debone your own.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      These videos were pretty informative; thanks. Now, I must consider buying a boning knife.

    2. It does help to have a sharp knife, but it doesn't have to be a boning knife, just one that is relatively narrow, which is why a boning knife works so well.

      Videos are great instructors to watch, but you just have to get in there and do it a few times to lose that fear of the unknown. Basically you take the breast at the top, thickest point, and insert the knife into meat, following along the bone. From there you cut and scrape the meat from the bones, following the rib bones all the way down. Just pull the meat as you go, and it comes off rather easily. The best tip is to let the bones guide you, keep the knife parallel to the bones & it will be fine.

      And definitely keep them to make stock - you can freeze them if you're not cooking it right away.

      1. That best be some high quality, pasture-raised, organic, certified humane chicken breast for $8.50 a pound. Somehow I don't think it's even close. Find another butcher - look in the mirror. :-)

        1. jfood likes this video for a split breast


          if it's a whole breast just start at the breast bone and slide a very sharp knife along the breast plate.

          1. For $8.50 /lb they better come to my house & cook it & wash the dishes afterwards. Curious--how much is it with the bone in?

            8 Replies
            1. re: sparkareno

              I just called the butcher for prices -- I can't believe they've even gone higher since I was in there about 2 weeks ago. It's now $9.49 lb for boneless, skinless breasts. They are all natural but not organic. Bone-in with skin is $4.29 lb so you can bet I'll be boning my own from now on even if I don't do such a great job -- maybe I'll improve with practice.

              1. re: walker

                At those prices you'll improve quickly.;-))

                1. re: walker

                  Out of curiosity, where is this butcher located? Both prices look pretty steep to me. Is this midtown Manhattan?

                  1. re: John E.

                    In San Francisco, my favorite butcher is Bryan's. All the chicken, fish, meat look better than any at any other butcher within driving distance -- that I know of. No odor whatsoever. The last time I was there, I just looked -- the prices were just too high and now these boneless breasts are even higher -- hard to believe that price.

                    I like the rotisserie chicken at WF. Before, their chicken breasts have seemed tough to me but they have 3 different kinds so maybe I'll give them another try.

                    1. re: walker

                      Why not head down to the Ferry Building Farmers Market? I know they have nice fresh birds that are organic, sustainable, humane and pasture-raised. Breaking down a chicken is not hard (at all) and I think it's something that everyone should know how to do if you cook. Buying from these folks will not only save you money, but you'll feel better about what you're buying and feeding your family.


                      1. re: Fuller

                        I'd like to but work very late, sleep mornings, same on days off. Also, I prefer to drive to places to do my shopping. Any other stores you like for chicken? I looked at TJ and they have some Empire boneless, skinless breasts but they are almost $8 a lb.

                        1. re: walker

                          #1 Who says you can't drive to the farmers market???

                          #2 There is more to a chicken than boneless skinless breasts. Frankly speaking, branch out.

                          I can't help ya as I don't live anywhere near SF, but I have been to the market several times and I think the quality of items there is unsurpassed. To me, quality is a big issue when it comes to buying my food. To others, maybe not so much...

                          I would not mind getting up early one day a week, driving to the market to pick up some nice produce and meats and then going home to go back to sleep. But if you're not willing to do that, meat from factory farms is your only choice.

                  2. re: walker

                    FYI: "All natural" is not a regulated term and essentially means nothing.