Reference > Cooking Methods & Techniques > Boning


Boning is removing bones from meat or fish, leaving the flesh nearly in its original shape. For boning, a small sharp knife with pointed blade is essential. Legs of mutton and veal and loins of beef may be ordered boned at market, no extra charge being made.

Whoever wishes to learn how to bone should first be taught boning of a small bird; when this is accomplished, larger birds, chickens, and turkeys may easily be done, the processes varying but little. In large birds, tendons are drawn from legs, and the wings are left on and boned.

How to Bone a Bird

In buying birds for boning, select those which have been fresh killed, dry picked and not drawn. Singe, remove pinfeathers, head, and feet, and cut off wings close to body. Lay bird on a board, breast down. Begin at neck and with sharp knife cut through the skin the entire length of body. Scrape the flesh from backbone until end of one shoulder-blade is found; scrape flesh from shoulder-blade and continue around wing-joint, cutting through tendonous portions which are encountered; then bone other side. Scrape skin from backbone the entire length of body, working across the ribs. Free wish-bone and collar-bones, at same time removing crop and windpipe; continue down breast-bone, particular care being taken not to break the skin as it lies very near bone, or to cut the delicate membranes which enclose entrails. Scrape flesh from second joints and drumsticks, laying it back and drawing off as a glove may be drawn from the hand. Withdraw carcass and put flesh back in its original shape. In large birds where wings are boned, scrape flesh to middle joint, where bone should be broken, leaving bone at tip end to assist in preserving shape.


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The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (1896).

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