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Many instructions for carving a roast chicken don't mention doing anything with the meat on the back. For example, Mark Bittman in How to Cook Everything, describes how to cut the breast, leg, and wing from the bird, but doesn't say to do anything with the back (other than, presumably, to put it in stock). The back meat tastes perfectly fine to me, although it isn't a large pretty chunk like the other pieces.

Why aren't there instructions on how to carve it too? Should I serve up the back meat? Keep it for myself? Use it as a part of some other cooking?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Back meat on poultry tends to be rubbery, inaccessible, and there is relatively little of it. The meat is almost like other dark meat but is found only in thin sheets. Also since, during tradition roasting the back meat is down in the pan, it tends to be less cooked than is pleasant for dark meat.

It isn't practical to try and carve it because it is a ton of effort for just a little bit of not-very-good meat.

After carving off the major cuts I will use my hands to pull off any useful scraps- including some of the larger pieces of back meat. I save these pieces for my standard poultry scraps applications: pie, soup, and enchiladas.

Whatever is left gives up it's goodness into the broth when the carcass is boiled and is then fed, with the spent carcass, back to the chickens.

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And it's a wonderful way to make broth easily -- just save the unused bits from any roasted or baked chicken and put them in a pot with water to make chicken broth. Many butchers and grocery stores even sell chicken backs as "soup bones." – Martha F. May 1 '12 at 20:25

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