The process of de-boning a whole chicken can be a little time consuming, but there are few things in life that are worth doing that are easy. Once you’ve mastered the art, you have a very powerful weapon in your arsenal of recipes to impress your family and friends with. It is virtually endless the number of things you can stuff the chicken with. So sharpen up the knives and let’s get going!
Start out with a fresh, whole chicken, giblets removed, rinsed and cleaned. I prefer to use 2 if not even 3 cutting utensils when de-boning a chicken. A must have is a very sharp fillet knife. A second, heavier knife, such as a chef’s knife, will help to cut through bones. Even better than a chef’s knife would be a pair of kitchen scissors, as they make quick work of cutting through bone. But if you don’t have the kitchen shears, the chef’s knife will do fine. With the chicken lying breast side down, start cutting down the back bone, inserting the fillet knife under the meat, right up against the bone, making sweeping cuts to seperate the meat from the bone.
When you reach the wing and the leg bone, go ahead and cut through them where they attach to the main skeleton, as we will finish removing the wing and leg bones later. Continue around to the breast, cutting as closely as possible to the bone, so as not to waste any of the meat. If you do make a mistake and have a large portion of meat still attached to the bone, that’s okay, just cut it off and save it to be put back in the chicken when you stuff it. Once you have worked down one side of the chicken to the middle of the breast, start back at the spine on the other side and repeat the process. When you have finished, you will have a chicken with no ribs, breast bones or spine, only the leg bones will remain.
For the legs and wings, insert your fillet knife under the meat as close the bone as possible, cutting around the bone and working downward towards the foot. Once you reach the cartilage part of the bone, cut through it and pull it out. Repeat this process for both drumsticks and the wings.
You now have a de-boned chicken, ready for any of a number of possible stuffings. No bones about it, a stuffed chicken cooked over the hard wood coals is sure to impress the most discerning of eaters!