Technique: Deboning Whole Poultry


This a method used to remove the bones from a whole bird, such as turkey, chicken, or duck close up stuff and roast as a normal bird. These are the basic steps:

1. Place the bird breast side down

2. Use a sharp paring knife and make a slice down the length of the back

3. Start to cut the meat away from the bones going down one side. Stay close to the bone and scrape as you go.

4. As you get to the thigh and wing, cut the tendons and separate them from the skeleton. Take the bone out of the thigh, but leave it inside the drumsticks and wings.

5. Continue down until you are able to remove the breast bone, being careful not to cut the skin.

6. Lay out the bird and season with salt and pepper.

7. Sew up the back of the bird with a thick thread and large gauge needle, curved upholstery needles work well.

8. Stuff and roast as you would a normal bird, but keep in mind that a more stuffing will fit inside.

This is also the technique one used to create Turducken, where a series of birds are stuffed inside of each other.


Other names: Boning Poultry, Boning Whole Poultry, Boneless Poultry, Deboning Poultry
Translations: Atkaulošanas Visa Mājputni, Kaulus ir naminių paukščių, Dezosare Păsări Total, Iskoštavanja Cijela Perad, Deboning gia cầm nguyên con, Odkostniania Ogólna liczba Drób, Ontbeenlijnen Whole Pluimvee, पूरे पोल्ट्री Deboning, Desossa frangos inteiros, Обвалки птицы полного, Ολόκληρη η αφαίρεση των οστών πουλερικών, Deboning دواجن الجامعة, 전체 가금류를 Deboning, Vykosťování celý kus drůbeže, Дебонинг Цела Живина, Deboning Whole manok, 剔骨所有家禽, Desossat aus senceres, Izkoščevanja cela perutnina, Vykosťovanie celý kus hydiny, Disossare intere di pollame, Deboning עופות שלמים, Urbening Hela Fjäderfä, Deboning Unggas Utuh, 全体家禽を除骨, Désossage volailles entières, Zerlegungs geteiltes Geflügel, Udbening Hele Fjerkræ, Deboning Hele Fjørfe, Deshuesado aves enteras, Обвалки птиці повного, Luuttomaksi Koko Siipikarja, Обезкостяване Цели Птици



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Darren Vengroff's picture

I've used the technique described at with really good luck. The advantage is that you get a completely intact boneless bird.

In the summer, I fill the boneless bird with lemon slices, herbs, and optionally olives, then rub with olive oil and salt, and lay it flat on the grill over a medium fire and close the lid. It's like spatchcocking, but with no need for the brick on top. It takes about 15 minutes on each side. When it comes off the grill you just slice the whole bird and serve with pita. It is a very impressive presentation that is also delicious.

Barnaby Dorfman's picture

Getting the keelbone out is definitely one fo the harder parts, but there's no real trick to it, just keep cutting meat away from the bone, essentially scraping it off with your knife. It's important to be using a smaller knife for this...but if you keep at it, you'll get it all out. Good luck!