Purchasing bone-in chicken thighs and then deboning them yourself can save you a fair amount of money per pound, and can give you the option of having both boneless and bone-in chicken on hand without purchasing two different varieties. Some of the best tips for deboning chicken thighs are to use a very sharp knife and to work on a surface that can be disinfected easily once you’re finished. Cutting into the chicken thigh until you can visibly see the bone and wearing gloves while removing the bone can also be helpful.
One of the most important tips for deboning chicken thighs is to use an extremely sharp knife, preferably a paring knife or a short chef’s knife. Attempting this kitchen task with a dull knife can not only make it more difficult, but can also increase your chances of cutting yourself. A dull knife forces you to apply more pressure to achieve the same results as a sharp knife, therefore removing some of the control you have over the knife itself. As a general rule, a knife that can easily cut through a tomato or other soft fruit without bruising it is typically sharp.
Raw chicken can potentially harbor a fair amount of harmful bacteria. For this reason, one of the best tips for deboning chicken thighs is to work on an easily cleanable surface that can be disinfected. In general, a plastic cutting board is best, as this can be washed in hot, soapy water and sprayed down with disinfectant if necessary. Wood cutting boards should typically be avoided, as most of them are porous and difficult to fully clean. Although a glass cutting board can be an alternative to plastic, these can quickly dull your knife, which can make deboning chicken thighs more difficult in the future.
The process for deboning chicken thighs is relatively simple: cut into the chicken by the bone, pull the bone out, and then cut under the bone until it is released from the meat. A good tip is to make sure that your initial cut is deep enough to make the bone completely visible. Prior to pulling out the bone, make sure that you can clearly see the white of the bone before attempting to remove it with your hands. If you simply make a small incision above the bone and attempt to pull it out, any meat or tissue still on the top of the bone can make the process difficult and increase the chances of the surrounding meat tearing.
No matter how well you pat your chicken dry before deboning chicken thighs, the meat and bone itself will likely be slippery. For this reason, one of the best tips for this kitchen task is to wear rubber gloves on one or both hands. This will help to give you a better grip on the bone when pulling it out, and can make it easier to hold the chicken still while cutting it.