First Time Butchering Question


In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 21, 2014
So I cleaned my first backyard chicken today. No roosters allowed here... Most of it went pretty easy but I am concerned I may have had the water too hot when I scalded for plucking. I boiled the water and let it cool for a few min then poured it all into a 5 gallon bucket. I did not have a thermometer but it seemed like it had cooled a good bit from boiling. I swished it around for about 10-15 sec and hung the bird back up. It plucked pretty easy but there were little pieces of feather follicle that looked like was still down under the skin. While gutting the bird it seemed like the meat was pretty stiff and the inside connective tissue seemed tough. This worries me that I may have semi-cooked the bird. If that is the case did I ruin it? Will I be able to eat it? Thanks for any help!
You did not cook it. You did not ruin it.

You are probably talking about pin feathers. Those are the new feathers growing in. You will always find some of those on a carcass. If the bird if molting it can be a real mess. Those pin feathers won’t hurt you to eat them but they are not very appetizing to look at. If you will notice most meat birds are white or buff colored. That’s so the pin feathers won’t show up as bad.

You would have to leave it in real hot water a lot longer than that to cook it. I don’t use a thermometer when scalding, just dunk and swish around until the wing feathers come out easily. When you can pull the wing feathers out easily it is ready to pluck. The problem with water too hot or leaving it in to long is that the skin can overcook and tear when you pluck. Again that doesn’t hurt anything but it is unappetizing of you roast the bird whole. If you cut it into parts when you cook it or skin it then this is not a problem.

Cockerels can be harder to skin because they have connective tissue holding the skin to the carcass. That sounds like what you are talking about. Different cockerels develop at different rates but with mine it normally gets real noticeable around 4-1/2 months. An old rooster is really hard to skin because you have to continually cut that connective tissue. It doesn’t hurt anything just makes it harder to skin the bird and process him.

Relax. You did well.
My understanding is that you're looking for about 145 degrees, so cooling from 212 has a possibility of being way high. I'd suggest getting a thermometer you can use.

You actually can cook the outside of a bird pretty quickly with 190 degree water. Water transfers heat much better than air.
So in theroy, if I did only slightly cook the outside, what would be the effect? I plan to let it age in the refrigerator for 48 HRS and cook. Would there be anything dangerous or unappetizing about eating it?
Might be a little tougher on the outside... but I wouldn't worry too much. Just get down around 150 next time.

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