The natural bone system in any animal is generally left in place during cooking when it serves a purpose, and is removed when it does not.
For instance, a rib roast will always be better on the bone, since the ribs will hold the meat in place and prevent shrinkage.
There are occasions when boning poultry is an advantage as in quick braised dishes and occasions when it is essential for example, when the poultry is to be deep fried or so that it can be flattened into cutlets.
The thigh is easier to bone than the drumstick, because the bone is straight forwardly positioned and visible. For safety, cut away from your fingers. Also, cut as close as possible to the bone itself and angle the blade slightly toward the bone rather than away from it.
Place the thigh skin side down on a cutting board. Use a small, sharp boning knife to locate the bone at one end. Cut through the meat down the length of the bone.
Draw the knife down the underside of the bone and cut the bone free.
The drumstick has a series of long, hard tendons along its length, which can complicate things, but they are best ignored rather than removed. Once the point of the knife is in contact with the bone, use a scraping motion to free the bone from the surrounding meat.
Starting from a point halfway along the drumstick, insert the knife through the meat to locate the bone, then slice along the bone to expose it fully.
Open out the meat and cut carefully around the bone to free it from the meat.
The method is identical for all poultry and the objective is to loosen the meat from the bone with as little loss of meat as possible. Use a sharp knife and keep the blade as close to the bone as you can throughout. Always cut away from the hand that is holding the bird in place.
Place the leg skin side down on a cutting board. Cut halfway through the meat at the start of the thigh bone. Cut along the bone to the knuckle. Scrape to expose the bone, then ease it from the meat.
Perform the same operation from the knuckle down to the end of the drumstick. The bones will be exposed, but will still be joined at the central knuckle joint.
Lift the bones up and away from the meat and carefully cut them free from the knuckle. A series of short nicks with the tip of the knife will do the trick.
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