Stop Buying Boneless Chicken Thighs

Everyone who eats chicken loves a boneless, skinless thigh. Juicy, tender, and well suited to everything from flash-frying to slow braising, they’re the perfect cut for just about any recipe. But all this is common knowledge by now, which means boneless thighs aren’t the budget-friendly hack they were even a few years ago.

This is why I’m a big fan of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, which are slightly less convenient — but far more affordable. They’re rich and fatty like a great chicken wing, yet meaty and substantial enough to be a meal on their own. Bone-in thighs also happen to be the ideal introduction to breaking down meat yourself, a skill that not enough people even think to develop. With a modicum of effort, choosing bone-in over boneless gets you twice the chicken for half the money.

I cannot stress enough how easy it is to de-bone a chicken thigh. There is exactly one bone. To remove it, trace its edges with the tip of your knife and pull it out. That’s it.

If you like, you can also remove the skin (it peels right off) and reserve it for another use, like schmaltz—or, as the chef in this YouTube video suggests, grilled chicken skin skewers with sea salt. (Yes, please.) In just a few minutes, you’ll have a pile of deboned thigh meat plus all the skin and bones you need to make a fantastic pot of stock.

Perhaps you’d rather avoid any amount of amateur butchery, which is a valid preference. Bone-in thighs are still the move, especially for all the braises you’re planning for the season ahead. Start them skin side-down in a cold pan, turn the heat to medium, and cook undisturbed for 15-20 minutes until crispy and deep brown. Then, even if the recipe says otherwise, peel off and reserve the skin before continuing with the rest of the recipe.

Besides the obvious golden brown crispy goodness, there are a few benefits to this technique. Peeling the skin off early limits the amount of chicken fat in the finished dish and lets you avoid picking slippery skin off a boiling-hot piece of meat later. But more importantly, pre-crisped skin makes the richest, deepest stock you’ve ever had with no additional effort. That’s reason enough for me—especially during soup season.


Comments

    Before you eat this crud, find out how it's made (start with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poultry_farming#Humane_treatment). If you can still buy it and eat it after finding out those details, then you have no empathy for other animals at all and probably should be locked away somewhere safe.

      Meat eaters should be locked away! Now there's an edgy take!

        That's not what I said, read it again, then go look at the link and find a bit more info on the subject, then turn your brain on and have a think about what you have found out, and ask yourself, do you really want to keep being a part of that? If you answer yes, then no-one can help you...

      go get a mental health check, vegan.

        Go get a clue, meathead. See, it's easy to throw around pointless insults, I bet you made no effort to even look at that one link I posted. This is what I hate about the human race, living in ignorance seems to be the preferable state because actually learning something, especially something that is in conflict with your current behaviour, is too scary. This is why the human race is such a mess, most people are just plain ignorant of, well, just about everything.

      None of my chickens are raised like that thanks.

        That may be true, but the vast majority of chickens raised for meat are factory farmed and are genetically bred to grow rapidly, they are basically genetic disasters. The few that get rescued grow so fast they end up with deformed legs and need special care. The chickens that are killed in factories are 6-8 weeks old and are massive compared to a normal 6 week old chicken. Humans are by far the most cruel, selfish and screwed up species on the planet, there's no contest there, nothing else even comes close to us in that respect.

    Vegans are like Christians - they are the worst possible prophets for their own cause. I acknowledge there are upsides to veganism but boy are the practitioners masters of driving away everyday people from their philosophy.

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