18 July, 2008

How to Bone A Chicken Wing, Step By Step

One of my favorite appetizers is stuffed boneless chicken wings. Although boning wings takes a little bit of effort, it's worth it. Done correctly, a boneless chicken wing is a perfect, unpunctured pocket which will delight and amaze your guests.

Here's what you need to get started: Some chicken wings, of course, a sharp paring or boning knife, a clean work surface, and a scrap pan to hold the bones as you go along. It may also help if you put the wings into the freezer for an hour or two - not long enough to freeze them, but enough to make the flesh firmer and easier to work with.

The first step is to disjoint the wings. Do this by bending back the joints until you feel the bones pop from their sockets at both knuckles. This frees the bones from the grip of the knuckle joints and makes them easier to remove.

Use a sharp paring knife to go all around the cut end of the chicken wing, right down to the bone. There are several tendons in the wing that need to be severed here.

When the tendons at the end of the bone are all cut, scrape the meat down the bone to expose the end.

Pull the meat and skin back along the bone, turning the meat "inside out" as you go. When the first bone is completely exposed, hold it back with one finger and use the knife to carefully free it at the knuckle. Take care not to cut through the meat or skin here. You can remove the large bone at this point.

Now the cartilage-covered tips of the two smaller bones will be exposed. Like before, use the knife to cut around the ends of the bone, severing any tendons that might be attached.

After running the knife around the two small bones, use it to carefully cut between them and split the cartilage that covers their ends. Be expecially careful here! There is nothing between this joint and the thin skin of the wing, and you don't want to break the skin or make a hole in the side of the wing!

Use the knife to pry off the small cartilage caps on the tips of the bones. With the cartilage caps pried off, scrape the meat down these bones just like you did with the larger bone before.

As you scrape down the two small bones, continue pulling the meat down and "inside out" as you go. you only need to expose about three-quarters of an inch of bone in this part of the wings, just enough to get a grip on with your fingers. this photo gives you an idea of about how far you need to go.

One at a time, grasp the bones at the tips and pull them firmly straight out, twisting the bone to release it from the cartilage at the wing tip if necessary.

With the bones pulled out and the meat pulled back around the wingtip, the chicken wing should now be pretty much inside-out, as shown here. Just reach inside the end, grab the wingtip, and pull it right-side-out again.

The final product will look like the picture above.

Even though it would be nice, don't expect perfect results the first time you try this. Buy a small package of wings, sit down at the table and just go to it. By the time all the wings are boned, you should have the hang of it. the first couple are going to take a while but as you get better at it, you should be able to bone out a package the size of the one shown on this page in less than fifteen minutes.

You can stuff the wings with just about anything you like, from standard bread stuffing to more exotic blends. Stuffed wings are popular in Thai cuisine, so thumbing through a Thai cookbook or searching a database of Thai recipes is likely to come up with a couple of good ideas. In the meantime, this recipe was given to me by Earlene Phillips of Chicopee MA. She's also the person who taught me how to bone wings in the first place.

----- Now You're Cooking! v4.60 [Meal-Master Export Format]

Title: Stuffed Chicken Wings
Categories: appetizers, poultry
Yield: 18 wings

3 lb carrots
1 lb sausage meat
1 celery; chopped
1 lg green pepper; chopped
1 lg onion; chopped
oregano to taste
1 pk sazon goya
1 black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Stuff into boned chicken wings. Coat
wings with seasoned bread crumbs, bake at 325 for about 1 1/2 hours.

Mixture will stuff about 18 to 23 wings, depending on size.

By Earlene Phillips

MM format by Dave Sacerdote


This information was originally presented on my now-defunct homepage in 1998. (A May 2001 text-only capture of the page can be found here, at the Internet Archive.)



Sarah said...

This is the best tutorial I have found on the web! De-boning chicken wings is not my forte. In fact, carving roast chicken is a challenge. I'm looking forward to trying this so that I can make elegant braised wing meat. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

That's impressive, Dave! I've never had the nerve to try that. You've inspired me.

Anonymous said...


I'm not usually a comment leaving kinda guy, but in this case I make an exception. Thanx to your easy to follow step by step pictoral,
instruction and helpful hints I actualy found this no more difficult than deboning a thigh. My only var. was to use my thumb to slide the (thawing) meat down the bone after the initial cut.

Many thanx for the 411!
Bob L.

Dave said...

I'm really glad you found this helpful. Thanks for stopping by!