How to Debone a Quail


Quail is a rather small, wild bird, yet used in many culinary delights, such as Sage Polenta and Stuffed Quail with Foie-Gras. Several of the birds are needed to prepare a proper meal. Boning them is similar to boning a chicken, yet a little more complicated, requiring more delicate cuts than with a chicken.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Scissors
  • Cutting board
  • Cut the neck portion (usually the extra skin) off the quail body to reveal the wishbone which is right at the top of the breast meat. Using a sharp knife, cut away the wishbone. Since it's very small and delicate, care must be taken when removing so it doesn't splinter into pieces.

  • Clip each wing at the shoulder socket with kitchen scissors. They do not have to come completely off, but the bone does need to be loose from the shoulder blade. For easier handling, clip off the wing at the elbow and set aside the tips.

  • Slice along the backbone with the edge of the knife. Start at the top of the bird and work down to the tail. Some people cut the spine out completely, then trim away the rib bones from the breast meat later. Others cut away the meat from the spine and rib bones, keeping the skeleton intact. You'll need to keep a hold on the meat, as you slice meat loose. The knife blade makes a cleaner separation than pulling the meat off. Make sure to leave the skin on the quail while trimming away the meat. Skin can be removed later if the recipe requires it.

  • Cut a slit down the back of each leg bone. There's two portions of the leg: the thigh and the drumstick. You only want to separate the meat from the bone without chopping the meat up into shreds. This is done by cutting through the muscle that attaches to the bone around the knee joint. Run tip of knife along the leg bones to disengage tendons and meat and it should come away fairly easy. The skin helps to keep the leg meat together.

  • Once the meat has been removed from the leg quarters and both sides of the bird's rib cage, pull the remaining meat away from where it attaches to the front of the the breast bone. You now have a deboned quail.

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