Chicken thighs equation

I can buy chicken thighs either with or without the bones and skin. Since both prices fluctuate somewhat (either can be on sale any given week), I just assume the boneless/skinless ones cost more per ounce of meat, since I’m also paying for the bone and skin removal process. But there has to be a better way of figuring which is more economical . . . taking into account the weight of the meat vs. the weight of the bones and skin. So:

If B is the price of the thighs that contain bones and skin, and X is the price of the boneless/skinless, at what ratio X/B does it become more economical to pay extra for the boneless/skinless?

Figure out a price for your own labor to remove the skin and bones, and then you can make a rock-solid decision.

Note too that some folks buy bone-in, skin-on chicken and use the bones/skin to make soupstock after they’ve eaten the meat.

Just so we’re clear, what you’re looking for is the point at which the bones and skin become irrelevant to the price?

Wouldn’t this depend on the value you put on your time, how unpleasant you find skinning and/or boning chicken parts, whether you intend to eat the chicken skin or not, whether you like eating chicken skin and eating chicken off the bone, and how much more likely it is that you’ll actually use the chicken before it goes bad if you don’t have to deal with skinning and boning it?

I hate hate hate doing things like skinning chicken, where I have to get my hands messy. Always have- even when I was a little kid, I didn’t like things like finger-painting where I had to get my hands messy. I don’t eat chicken skin (too much fat, and too likely to be slimy), I’d rather eat boneless chicken than eating it off the bone, and I am an infamous procrastinator when it comes to cooking something that takes effort. I know some people don’t mind getting their hands messy (ugh!), my grandfather used to love chicken skin, and Mr. Neville likes eating chicken off the bone.

It looks to me like the question boils down to what proportion, by weight, of a chicken thigh is the bones and skin.

Right. What would be the ratio of the two prices at which I’d break even? And I’m not considering the price of my own labor, and I don’t plan on using the bones & skin for stock (though I might).

Anne Neville: You would have hated to grow up in our house. A farmer used to come around with a truck full of live chickens. My mother would go out and pick one, and the farmer would kill it and get rid of the feathers and the head. My job - and I loved it - was to clean out the inside (which was still warm), including eggs at various stages of development. I learned a lot of anatomy that way.

Also: you need to learn about “grivenis” . . . and I have no idea how it’s spelled, since it’s Yiddish.


Will you come with me to the ladies’ and hold my hair? I’m going to be sick now.

One reason I’m soo soo glad I keep kosher is that it means I can never be called upon to kill my own chicken.

At the risk of hijacking my own thread: If you buy kosher meat, but don’t use it until it goes slightly bad . . . is it still kosher?

Why wouldn’t it be? For meat to be kosher, it needs to be from a healthy kosher animal, slaughtered in a particular fashion, and soaked and salted after slaughtering to remove the blood; if it’s a mammal, a trained person needs to remove the sciatic nerve for that portion of the meat to be kosher. Freshness doesn’t enter into it beyond soaking and salting it within three days of slaughter.

As to your other point, I’ve always seen it spelled ‘gribenes’ in English.

I feel like I’m living the high life buying boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but I don’t think they’re actually as expensive as they look, because there is almost zero waste to them (the odd gobbet of fat and that’s it). I pay $20 for a big fresh pack, take them home and put each breast in its individual baggie and freeze them; they are quite big, so I usually use one for a meal for two of us, and there are five or six in a pack. That doesn’t sound nearly as expensive for high quality protein when you measure it that way.

I can tell you that most Oriental restaurants around here buy bone-in thighs and pay their employees to skin and de-bone them. These employees are almost exclusively non-English-speaking Hispanics and are probably paid exactly minimum wage. These guys can go through a couple hundred pounds of chicken in a few hours, seeing as how they do it every day.

As a general rule, deboned meat, pre-made salads, pre-cut fruits, etc. are called “value-added products” because the labor involved increases the per-unit price. It’s just a trade-off that you have to decide whether it’s worth the extra work to you, as Anne Neville said.

Well, let’s throw one number out there. According to this about 25% of the thigh is bone. No idea about the skin.

Do you have a scale? At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, the best way to do this would to buy a couple bone-in thighs, skin and bone them, and figure out your average yield that way. Your boning skills (no giggling, please) may be different than someone else’s, so this number should be a bit individual dependent.

The skill level will affect things significantly. I’m fairly new at deboning thighs, and I feel like I leave half the meat on there when I’m done. (White meat is much easier - it’s one big chunk, the cutlet, without being significantly wrapped around the bones.) I’m sure someone who does this all day would get a cutlet that’s 30-50% larger than the one I get, which would be much more cost-efficient. I don’t mind leaving on a lot of meat, since I’m generally using the thighs for soup anyway, and any boneless meat I save is purely a bonus that goes in the freezer for later use (I’d otherwise be throwing it out when I toss the uneaten soup chicken.) It’s not going to be just ‘a bit’ individually dependent.

Gribenes, aka kosher cracklins.

Perhaps knife skill could be eliminated from the equation by weighing them, removing the skin, cooking them and then eating them and weighing the bones and uncooked skin afterwards, then subtracting that out. I’m fairly certain that cooking will not effect the weight of the bones significantly.

Oh, sure. That would make sense. I guess it depends on how the OP wants to use the chicken thighs. For whatever reason, I was assuming chopped up pieces of skinned, raw thigh meat, but there’s no indication that’s how the OP would use the meat. Certainly, when I buy thigh meat, I generally buy bone-in and cook the whole thigh as one piece.

Frankly I didn’t even know you could buy boneless thighs.:smiley:

I’ve also always bought and cooked them bone-in. It’s dark meat so they’re not really going to toughen up without some real effort to do it badly, and personally I think the bone adds something to the flavor, but that’s just me.

I use the bone in ones and they are pretty cheap in family packs. You could ask your butcher how much the bones weigh.

My fav chicken thigh recipe is from my Mom, ‘Shake N Bake’. Put them skin side down on the top of the broiler pan sprayed with Pam. I use a sheet of foil in the lower pan to catch the mess. Cook them a little longer then the package says to or until light brown. They are crispy and good with creamed corn.

I just count and compute the price per thigh. I usually find it comes out very close to the same amount.