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Boning Chicken Breasts
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Boning Chicken Breasts Boneless Chicken Breasts


I recently went to the local supermarket to purchase boneless chicken breasts for dinner. The price was $5.29 per lb. for a nationally known brand. Now let me state that I too have little time and need the conveniences available to me. As I was perusing the counter to find something cheaper, I noticed that they also had split chicken breasts on the bone for $1.79 per lb. – approximately 1/3 of the cost of the boneless. Of course, then I would be paying for those bones that I can’t use – or can I?


I decided to take a chance and buy the ones with the bones and de-bone them myself. Clearly I’m a glutton for punishment or I just have too much time on my hands. To my amazement, it took only 30 seconds each, to perform the de-boning operation. Now I didn’t do the most perfect job of de-boning and I am certain that with some practice, I would get better. I decided to weigh the bones that also contained some scraps of meat from my sloppy boning job. My calculations are listed below.


Original Weight             2.71 lbs     or   $4.85 for the package @ $1.79/lb

After boning I was left with

   Boneless portion                    1.49 lbs

   Bones                                    1.22 lbs


That means that my new price per pound for boneless chicken is $3.26/lb ($4.85/1.49 lbs). That’s over a $2.00 per lb savings over the $5.29 per lb package, if I bone the chicken myself. The 4 split breasts took 30 seconds each or 2 minutes to execute. And I didn’t even cut my hands.


Therefore my $4.85 package of chicken that yielded 1.49 lbs of boneless breast can be compared to the already boneless chicken breast at $5.29 per lb. The same quantity (1.49 lbs) of boneless chicken would cost $7.88 ($5.29 per lb * 1.49 lbs).  That’s a savings of $3.03 ($7.88 – $4.85) for my 2 minutes of work.

If I extrapolate that cost, I am earning $90.90 per hour ($3.03 * 30). I’ll take that job any day.


Even more amazing was the price for thin chicken cutlets and something called chicken tenders which are cutlets cut into strips. The cost of the thin chicken cutlets was $5.49 per lb and the cost of the tenders was $5.69 per lb. Now to make chicken cutlets, I could either cut the boneless chicken in half horizontally or pound it down with a meat mallet – very difficult indeed. To make the tenders, I would cut the thin chicken into strips – there’s a tough job.


Now I could throw the bones away or if I were really clever, I could make a chicken stock from the leftover bones. It’s actually very easy. Put the bones in a plastic bag and freeze. When you get approx 8 lbs and use the following recipe.


Chicken Stock              yield: 1 gallon


6 qts coldwater


8 lbs chicken bones with leftover meat from your poor attempt at de-boning.




8 oz onion – medium dice

4 oz celery – medium dice

4 oz carrot – medium dice


Sachet d’épices (place in a small piece of tied cheesecloth)

3 parsley stems

˝ tsp thyme

˝ tsp black pepper

1 bay leaf

1 clove garlic


  1. Rinse bones under cold running water and place in stockpot.
  2. Add cold water and salt to taste.
  3. Slowly bring to a simmer.
  4. Maintain a bare simmer for 3 – 4 hours. Bubbles should break the surface of the stock infrequently. Do not stir. The term for this is frémir, meaning to tremble, which describes the action of the bubbles. Skim the surface of any scum as necessary. A ladle works well for this.
  5. Add the mirepoix and sachet d’épices.
  6. Simmer 1 additional hour.
  7. Strain through a sieve or colander lined with rinsed cheesecloth.
  8. Allow to cool in fridge and skim off any fat from the top.
  9. Freeze in 1 cup containers for up to 6 months.


Well that was easy. All you need is a few hours and you really do not need to do very much. What you have left is an amazing stock without those chemicals whose names you can’t pronounce anyway and no sodium. Keep in mind that you pay extra for low or no sodium foods. Of course I gave you those pesky French words which you can’t pronounce either.


If you don’t have several hours to make chicken stock, you can get an acceptable alternative by simmering for only a couple of hours.