Probably one of the best inventions after sliced bread is the boneless chicken. Since chickens are full of bones, you have to put in the work to debone them. I want to tell you my method for how to debone a chicken thigh, which is one of the tougher cuts of chicken to remove the bone from, I believe.
The thigh meat is soft, dark, and slightly sweet, and while it is not as easy to eat a thigh as it is to eat a chicken leg, once you remove the bone, it’s all easy eating from there.
How to Debone Chicken Thigh Simply
Deboning things is not very difficult, and anyone can do it once they know the steps. If I can show you how to debone a chicken thing and you learn how for yourself, you’ll save money over buying ready boned thighs from the store.
If you have a boning knife, that will make things much easier. Not everyone has one of those, so sharp kitchen scissors or a small steak knife or fish knife will work. It should be very sharp and small enough to make precise incisions on the chicken. A dull knife or scissors may slip and hurt you or be difficult to work with.
You should be using a cutting board as your surface to prevent slippage and to avoid cutting into your countertops. Don’t try to cut chicken on a plate or tray, as it can slip and slide around and be difficult to work with there.
Keep your work area clean as you cut, as raw chicken can contain salmonella, which causes food poisoning. Any surfaces you used to cut the chicken on should be thoroughly sanitised when you are done, and you may want to sanitise areas as you work, just so you don’t forget anything later on.
Start cutting down the side of the bone. You need to get the flesh and the bone separated. You can press your finger into the cut of chicken thigh and feel the bone that goes from the centre of the meat. Use your knife to loosen up that flesh and slice through the tendons. You are just freeing the meat at this point and not cutting through it.
Scrape the meat off the bone next. Scrape off as much as you can without actually cutting into the skin. Once again, you are not trying to slice through meat at this point but simply detach it from the bone.
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Then, you will need to slide your knife under the bone. Clean the meat off the bone thoroughly and loosen that leftover flesh off the bone. Take your time and do it carefully so that you don’t cut yourself. You can always find YouTube videos of how to debone a chicken thigh that will show you this process and how to prevent cutting yourself.
You will find a large knuckle at the end of the bone and that needs to be cut off by slicing through the knuckle with the knife. You can watch Gordon Ramsay how to debone a chicken thigh videos to see how a pro does it if you want to see a quick and easy way. You’ll quickly learn how to debone a chicken thigh cutlet by watching others do it, if you prefer that way to learn over reading out the instructions.
After you have cut off the knuckle, lift away the bone, and you should have meat and flesh separately. You can search the bone for pieces of meat or cartilage by pressing with your fingers. When you do find any remaining, just use your knife to cut them away.
Finally, you need to cut off the fat that’s on the thigh. Any excess fat will look white, and you can slice it off easily, but try to leave a little bit. The fat adds flavour to the chicken so you don’t need to season it as much. It also helps moisten the chicken so it is not as dry and tough.
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You now have a deboned chicken thigh, and that wasn’t too hard, now was it? You can do this same process for all of your chicken thighs until they are all deboned.
Be sure to clean down your work area and make it sanitary for any other foods. You want to use an antibacterial spray or soap to clean down the countertops and cutting board so that all bacteria is killed. When you are done, the countertop and cutting board should be safe enough to eat off of.
How to Debone a Chicken Thigh in a Crockpot
One easy way to get the chicken meant off the bone is to use a crockpot. You can cook the chicken thigh there long enough to make it fall off easily, the same way you would debone chicken for chicken and dumplings or for a chicken soup.
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This is how to debone a chicken thigh America’s Test Kitchen way because it is simple and requires almost no effort. You just put your chicken thighs into the crockpot with enough water to cover and cook them for about 3-4 hours on high. If you are cooking on low heat, that will take 6-8 hours.
After that time, the chicken will simply drip off the bone or be so tender that you can pull it off the thigh bone easily. It’s a lot less work, and some of the flavour from the chicken and the meat and fat will go into you both. You can use that to make a soup or rice pilaf and imbue it with tons of great, savoury chicken flavour.
This simple method is the Cooks Illustrated how to debone a chicken thigh method, and it is one you will probably want to use if you would like to keep things as simple as possible.
I use the crockpot to debone chicken when I am cooking other foods on the side or when I just don’t want to pay attention to the chicken as it cooks and debones. I know using a knife to remove the bone can be a lengthy and precise process. It is not something I always feel like doing, so tossing everything in the crockpot to make a soup and then pulling out the meat later on for whatever purposes I have for it is very simple. It’s a great work saver that may take much longer than the conventional cutting method, but it is so much easier.
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I use chicken thigh for cutlets, roasted chicken, tenders, and in fajitas and burritos. It also works okay for chicken sandwiches, casseroles and other dishes that require meat but no bone.