Chicken Feet - Worth the trouble?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by RM44, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. RM44

    RM44 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I cleaned my second batch of feet to cook down in the stock pot. First time I used 4 pairs of feet cooked with the necks, extra skin and tails. This time I cleaned 6 pairs of feet and am currently cooking down with necks, extra skin and some fat from the old laying hens.

    Cleaning and peeling the feet is by far the most difficult and my most distained part of the job. My hands are pruned and nails peeling from handling so much wet chicken.

    So I ask....is it really worth it? Do you guys love the feet? Do they really make the stock that much better? When I'm cleaning them they stink like an old high school locker room. But many folks swear by them, so I've done it twice. I am really wondering if they are worth my time.

    Opinions? Experiences?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    How are you preparing the feet before you try to clean them? It sounds like you are either not scalding them or over-scalding them. If you over-scald them the skin won’t peel off at all but just tears. It’s a real pain and takes forever.

    I bring a pot of water to a full boil, dump the feet in, and leave the heat on. 20 to 25 seconds later I dump that water and feet in the sink and start peeling them. They need to quit cooking. Other people will scald other ways, maybe measuring the temperature of the water and using a lower temperature but letting them scald for longer periods. With it hot enough to boil I don’t have much margin of error before they overcook. Try a few different things and see what works for you.

    When I butcher a chicken I cut it into serving pieces right then. The breasts, wishbone, thighs, and drumsticks go in one packet for the table. There is only two of us and that makes two full meals. The neck, wings, back, heart, gizzard, and feet are used to make broth. After the broth is cooked I pick through the bones to get the meat. The feet don’t contribute any meat, just flavor and gelatin, but that meat from the broth is great on a sandwich, in a casserole, tacos, salad, or soup.
     
  3. RM44

    RM44 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Ridgerunner. I was bringing the water to boiling and then dropping them in for between 30-60 seconds. They were peeling patrly but I was having trouble around the toes and pads. I dropped them in for another 30 seconds and that helped but it just seemed like a laborious process.
     
  4. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chicken feet wasn't on the menu when I was growing up.


    What's the reason for peeling them? Some sort of off flavor?
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Do you know where those chicken’s feet have been, what they have been walking in? YUK!

    Twisting the toe nails and the spurs off and peeling them get them clean enough for me to use. I’m not sure I could scrub them enough for me to use otherwise.

    Just for fun, the US exports a lot of chicken feet (called paws in the industry) to China where they are a delicacy. In 2009 we exported almost 400,000 tons of chicken paws to China. Since then China has put a huge duty in imported chicken paws so the volume has dropped.
     
  6. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    X 2 on removing scales, toenails, and spurs. My grandmother used chicken feet, but I never saw how she cleaned them.
     
  7. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Interesting.

    I've had chicken feet as part of dim-sum in some Chinese restaurants (even very nice/expensive ones), and I've never seen them peeled.
     
  8. Mingming

    Mingming Chillin' With My Peeps

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    IMO the feet really make the stock something special. But try it with and without and see what you like best?
     
  9. glib

    glib Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are dozens of articles in nutrition describing the many benefits of a diet high in collagen.

    1) most westerners are deficient in glycine, a main constituent of collagen (we eat muscle, throw away the rest, but obviously our amino acid needs include also non muscle tissue)
    2) intaking many of the compounds that help build cartilage and tendons also helps (chondroitin, glucosamine). These organs have no blood going through them, making repair slow
    3) broth is anti-inflammatory, heals the gut, the joints and the skin
    4) diets high in methionine are inflammatory, but glycine counteracts that

    There is a reason all our chicken feet go to China, and there is a reason their skin ages so gracefully. So, yes, chicken feet, and boiling the carcass and skin after you have roasted a chicken, are all very worthy, and so cheap for such a health boost.
     
  10. RM44

    RM44 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond. Sounds like I will keep cleaning the feet for a while longer!
     

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