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First Time Processing

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by T-traveler, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    You're right Donrae, I guess that's the habit I've gotten into with my killing cone. When I was young, we decapitated. My dad taught me to put two nails in a log, place the neck between them, pull back on the feed and hatchet away. You had to be quick putting it in the burlap sack or it would run away.
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

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    One of my earliest memories is of my folks butchering CX with the stump and hatchet. I was under 5 years old, and in my memory those birds were ginormous. I remember white birds running over green grass spewing red blood from the neck stumps....my dad would just whack and let them loose to run it off, no cone or bag, etc. Funny thing is, I was a weird little kiddo and wasn't freaked out at all, I clearly remember saying "do another one, Daddy", cause it was so funny watching a chicken with it's head cut off run around........might be a telling story about my personality today [​IMG].
     
  3. MungoSummer

    MungoSummer Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 12, 2015
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    Well Donrae, just goes to show that children are pretty matter of fact about things like that. We have killed and processed our first meat bird today, a 20 week old Buff Sussex cock bird. I didn't like the idea of bleeding it without it being stunned first, so we hit it over the head with a round mallet, then popped it into our home made cone and slit its throat. I think I was more confident about giving to throat a good cut knowing the bird was unconscious and also I didn't feel rushed. All seemed very clean, easy and humane. We didn't scald this time but dry plucked while bird was warm. We will scald in a couple of weeks (we have three RIR and two Speckled Sussexready then), but we keep our birds in our field not near our house, so would have been lots to transport for one bird. Used processing photos from this site and read up on every aspect and am really grateful for all of the information. Good to know lots of people have similar anxieties. Have ended up with a 3.5lb bird resting in the fridge which we will casserole slowly in three days time.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

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    I did my second and third birds today. I'm becoming a fan of using a cooler chest for scalding. I don't have a turkey fryer and don't want to mess with the propane anyway. I use my water bath canning pot and heat up water, then just pour it in my rolling cooler. Close the lid and it stays hot for quite a while. In fact, I think it was a bit too hot, we tore some skin plucking. But, the nice thing about the large cooler is there's lots of room to slosh the bird around. You're not dunking and dunking and splashing water on your feet. First bird we just put in and shut the lid. The kiddo just shook the cooler around and agitated the bird. Only problem was, we couldn't find the feet to lift it out [​IMG]. Second bird I used a piece of baling twine tied to each foot. Ran that under the lid and he agitated the cooler the same way. We got great penetration of the hot water and the bird plucked like a dream.

    Note to self--loppers are great in theory, but they have to be sharp.
     
  5. MungoSummer

    MungoSummer Out Of The Brooder

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    Cool box is a great idea, I may give it a try. Trouble is I will still need gas BBQ to heat water as we will be in our field. Do you chill birds in ice water after processing? Also what type of birds do you have? We had lots of large pin feathers which were a pain. Seems from pictures Cornish X aren't very feathered as still young. We are using up boys from hatching so I might just have to skin/cut wings off before cooking as I couldn't get all of pin feathers out. Does anyone know if they would fall into casserole of I left them and just didn't serve wings with skin on after cooking. Would be nasty to have a mouthful of feather stubs in gravy!
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

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    I don't chill in ice water. We usually have enough hands or are doing a small enough number of birds they go right in the refrigerator. I'm doing excess cockerels 4-5 months old, not really dual purpose they're mostly true Ameraucana with about a quarter EE or Leghorn or barred Rock. Not so much with the meaty side, these guys. You may need to heat your water up a bit more, mine has been on the "too hot" side I think cause I've had some torn skin, but the feathers come out like a dream. We do wind up with the fine little hair like feathers, not sure if that's what you're talking about. We singe them off with the torch. I do cut the wing tips off cause no one eats them, I use them for stock or they go to the dogs.
     
  7. MungoSummer

    MungoSummer Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for that Donrae. I was talking about the feathers which are just starting to grow so are just a quill with a bit of feather fluff sticking out. We didn't scald in water at all this time but it sounds like scalding next time will do the trick. Have you eaten your birds yet? If so how did you find them and how were they cooked? [​IMG]
    This is our bird, fairly scrawny. Eating him tomorrow.
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Looks good. All heritage poultry appear scrawny compared to the genetically selected, big breasted, fast growing Cornish X Rocks.

    Always let the meat rest at least a couple days before cooking or freezing. They can be rested after thawing if not done before freezing.
    Cooking on low heat slowly is one of the best techniques. I do about 220F till the meat starts to fall off the leg bones. If doing whole, cooking breast down in a broth will keep the breast from overcooking or drying out while waiting for the legs to get done.
     
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

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    His breast isn't much, but he looks like he's got decent legs and probably thighs. I'd eat him!

    We ate my first bird, and numbers 2 and 3 are resting in the refrigerator right now. First bird I just chilled for 3 days, then brined for about 6 hours in a salt/sugar solution I found on line. I butterflied it and roasted at 450 for 30 minutes (or maybe it was 400? not positive) and it was wonderful! Oh, I rubbed seasoned cream cheese under the skin before roasting, I've done that for years with my grocery store birds and like the flavor it gives. Anyway, it was moist and tender and everyone loved it.

    The birds resting right now I went ahead and pieced out. I'll probably brine them Thurs and have them for dinner that night, just cause I'll be out and about tomorrow and probably have a crockpot meal. I'm thinking to try some type of oven fried, or maybe a take on chicken parm in a tomato sauce.
     
  10. MungoSummer

    MungoSummer Out Of The Brooder

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    ChickenCanoe
    Thanks for the 'breast down' tip, will do this
    When I cook him tomorrow.

    Donrae
    I have never brined anything before, I'll give it a go with one of the next batch. The cream cheese idea sounds delicious, I'll try that too.

    We have home grown veg to have with the bird so it will be our first entirely home grown meal. Will let you know how it turns out.

    Thanks again for the tips.
     

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