Bone In
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When a Meat item is described as “Bone-In,” it means that the bones of the animal have not been removed during the Butchering process. “Boneless,” on the other hand, means that the bones have been removed in advance.

Broadly, there are a few major implications about cooking and handling product depending on whether the bones remain or are removed. Whether to retain the bone(s) or remove them from a piece of meat is an important consideration for a conscientious chef.

Bone-In Meat will take longer to cook than Boneless Meat (potentially twice as long). The bone is denser than flesh and is more resistant to the penetrating heat of cooking than flesh. The flesh next to a bone also takes longer to cook as a result of its proximity to the bone.  Think of the bone as a “heat shield,” protecting / preventing the surrounding meat from cooking and you may get the picture. Despite the fact that Bone-In Meat takes longer to cook, there are some plusses to cooking it as well.  One positive is that the retained bones add a lot of flavor to the cooked dish. Another is that retained bones help the meat hold its shape during cooking.

Meat can also be cooked bone-in, but then de-boned prior to service. This gives you the best of both worlds, but will involve even more time.  As a chef you will want to think through the entire cooking process and consider how the Bone-In Meat will be served before beginning the actual cooking.

Substitutes

Boneless