My youngest brother used to work at a restaurant where he was responsible for planning the menu each day, ordering the food, and he did most of the cooking, too.He was about 17 or so at the time. It was his premise that it’s cheaper to buy boneless poultry, because most of the weight is in the bone.
I’ve had my doubts about this, and recently had the opportunity to test it out with turkey. I bought two turkey breasts, one one was boneless, one was bone-in. The final purchase price was approximately the same for each. although the bone-in of course weighed considerably more.
We brought them home and cooked them,following package directions. We removed them from the oven and right here I was already dead certain which was the winner.
Hint: It’s not the cheap imitation of a turkey in the bag on the left.
Once cooked, we pulled meat off the bone, or diced it, in the case of the boneless turkey.
Yes, my young chef’s helper here should have her hair back, and, in fact, that is the rule. I was focused on taking the pictures and didn’t think about it, and my lapse is hereby immortalized for the life of the internet, which is to say, to infinity and beyond.
The measuring cup on the left holds ALL of the boneless turkey breast.
Plus we can use the carcass for some nourishing soup broth. So for turkey breast, at least, it’s not cheaper to buy boneless. I don’t know if this is true for chicken pieces or not.
I do know that a very long time ago I read that basically, the chicken bones weight about the same, no matter what size you buy, so if you are buying whole chickens or any pieces with the bones in, you get more meat for your purchase by choosing the package of greater weight- especially true when we’re talking about whole birds.
In other words, a whole chicken brought to market will have a skeleton weighing about 1- 1 1/2 pounds (and I am totally making the number up), so if you buy a 3 pound chicken 1/3 to half of it will be the skeleton, but if your chicken weighs five pounds, as little as a fifth may be the bones.
One of these days I’ll try and buy equal weights of chicken breasts or thighs, bone in and boneless, and compare them as well.
Meanwhile, check out Mile-Hi Mama’s blogpost of bone-in vs boneless calculations.