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Dec 18, 2012 08:51 AM

How to find Butcher to debone whole chicken in one piece - Norwood to the south area?

We have a traditional Christmas dish (Chicken Rilleno) that requires a whole (one piece skin and all) deboned chicken that is then stuffed and baked - YUM! We have had awful experiences with the supermarket chains butchers - - they most all seem to have a great deal of "attitude". We have been told we are crazy - such a thing doesn't exist (Ralph's) to butcher's who eventually agreed but we ended up with a chicken in 12 pieces (Stop & Shop). We are at the point of giving up and trying our own hand but I thought I would ask on this board if anyone has any suggestions. We are near Norwood to the South. Thanks!

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  1. It takes me about ten minutes now, but my first time it seemed to have taken an hour or more. Just get a small sharp knife, and slowly seperate the meat from the carcass starting from the large end. Get ready for lots of disjointing and bone snapping.

    As the back has so little meat, I usually add a breast or two to even things out.

    5 Replies

      There are some easily googled videos on at-home technique.

      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        The Jacques Pepin video on YouTube is awesome and easily followed.

        1. re: GretchenS

          This is the video I used to teach myself how to do it. Even the first time, it took less than 30 minutes.

          1. re: kimfair1

            I wholeheartadly agree with the Pepin's a great video, I was in food service for many years, and broke down countless birds, and still caught a trick or two from that video.

          2. re: GretchenS

            I recently started deboning whole chickens after watching that video. The first time I took notes and had to watch the video while working just to remember the progression and little techniques like pulling on the wing tips to pop the two bones up from the wing.

            I've done about a half a dozen birds and have it down. It takes me 15 min on average. I now crack the terminal joint end of the leg at the onset so when I've scraped the meat off the leg bone I can just pull it out and then latter cut off the end joint of the leg so the bird is totally boneless

            I would highly recommend the OP try to debone at home. No reason putting up with "butchers" that cant debone a bird

            It's not that hard and doesn't take much more than a pairing knife and something heavy to crack the end of the leg. I use the spine of a clever

      2. It's called Glove Boning. You'll probably need and old school butcher.

        1. Thank you all - great advice. I did check the videos and just deboned two chickens. The first was somewhat mangled but my wife is now salvaging with thread and needle. I think for the future, rather than getting stressed with supermarket meat crews we will do this ourselves. Thanks again for your advise.

          3 Replies
              1. re: davefoxdad

                Nice! I hate doing that cut but love the results, so big win for you knife skills.

              2. Someone was trying to bone a goat a WHILE back on Chowhound. Not sure how they scratched that itch.

                5 Replies
                1. re: StriperGuy

                  Are you all kidding me? I can debone a chicken...BUT, is that not what butchers do? Market Basket, Stop and Shop included. Has anyone asked? At the very least Wholefoods. Darn sure I will be asking my Super Stop and Shop after New years...curious as to what the response will be...They should not have any attitude except "i will be happy to to this" if they are truly trained and management allows :)

                  1. re: ParisLady

                    Mayflower Poultry is the one place which will debone a chicken if you call ahead, as will some more expensive butchers and some ethnic butchers. However, it would have taken the OP longer to drive to Mayflower than learn to do it.

                    Generally supermarkets hire meat-cutters. And while a couple of chains had more accommodating meat cutters -- Johnnie's has closed and Market Basket is now posting signs that their meat-cutters cannot cut bone-in meats into smaller pieces (on a saw) presumably for insurance reasons so this trend maybe waning even further. However, some "supermarkets/meat shops" with more accommodating staff include McKinnon's, Lord Jeffs, Seabra (Brazilian butcher so language maybe an issue), Puritan Beef (not during Haymarket hours), and Hilltop (closed for renovations). All supermarket prices and no chicken de-boning as far as I know (at $.89 a lb and $15/hr labor do the math).

                  2. re: StriperGuy

                    Fortunately, these days there's a plethora of guys out there that'll bone a goat for you no problem.

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        Just roast a bone-in goat and post your street address on chowhound... instant boned goat. :-) If you want to make it more challenging, just post the neighborhood and type of wood in use for roasting.

                  3. The best way is to do it one's self. There has been a digression amongst the Butcher's trade for many years. They hire folks off the street and don't really train them anymore at the markets.
                    I worked in the industry for 20 years. My first deboned bird was for Julia Childs. Turkey for holiday, while she was in Brookline,Ma.

                    Once you have done a few you will have no trouble. Best places with knowledgeable Butcher's. Butcher Boy in North Andover,MA. North of Boston. Whole Foods,still has a few real true blue tradesman. Look for someone above the age of 35.

                    You are in the South Shore. I'd go to Dedham and ask for Tony. If he's still in that store. He has the true experience and can do it.

                    The Myth of one piece. Wings cannot safely be deboned. Most places will cut off the wings.

                    To bone out the chicken. Here's how a pro does it.
                    First the legs cut and snap the tendons at drumstick.
                    2nd Run the knife through the backbone only slitting the back bone. Spread the chicken out breast down so you can work on it. Make a small cut into the sternum. To manually pull out sternum. It can be plucked right out with the fingers. From here gently using the tip (first 1/4 inch of blade) slide the knife up under the ribs and breast. All the way up to the wishbone.The rib sections should resemble butterfly wings visually. Pluck wishbones out with fingers and save the bones for making stock. After this is done back to the legs. Depending on how you separate the spine from the bird. If there is still some backbone on the legs. Pop the legs out of socket. Gently score the bone off the thigh meat. Cut at joint between thigh and drumstick. Then carefully slide the knife down the drumstick and do this rotating all sides,depending on knife skills and sharpness you may hold knife steady and rotate the bone to pull the meat away. When complete you should be able to slide the bone out. Having a completely,bone free chicken to prepare.

                    Hope this has been helpful,
                    Cheers :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JOGRE

                      Thanks so much - this is very helpful for the future. We ended up doing two by ourselves quite successfully except I got the breast side confused with the back side on one of them. I was able to save the day. We also decided not to debone the legs. The result was a two beautiful stuffed birds!
                      I have given up on supermarket butchers and we are now buying pork, beef and occasional poultry directly from the farms.