how to butcher well?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by summeregg, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. summeregg

    summeregg New Egg

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    Apr 13, 2010
    Ohio boondocks
    How to you get a carcass to bleed out? I just butchered my first rooster and I don't know what I did wrong. I cut off his neck with a butcher knif and had to press really hard, then I hung the carcass head down. It seemed to get rigor mortis very soon and there was really very little blood--less than an eighth of a cup. He tasted very gamey and tough according to my son, who was the only one to try a taste, So what do I do differently next time. I am expecting to raise 15 meat birds in April.
     
  2. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    If you just cut the neck arteries but leave the spine intact the heart will continue to reflexively beat and help pump the blood out. There still won't be a whole lot, chickens don't have much in total. It also helps to let the bird rest in the refrigerator for 1-3 days before cooking, and then cook them slowly so they are less chewy and more tender. But home-grown chicken often tastes more "genuine" and is less mushy than store-bought.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. goldnchocolate

    goldnchocolate Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Summeregg! [​IMG]

    I don't really have an answer to your question but I know that if you read around on this forum you will learn enough to get you started.
     
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    They don't have much blood..the amount you describe is pretty much it. A rooster of a dual purpose or layer breed that is big enough to butcher is probably at least 3-4 mo. old, so their meat will taste different and be more tough than what you are used to eating from the store. They have probably taken a lot of steps in their lifetime and aren't really going to put on much muscle tissue as opposed to a meat chicken. That flavor you describe as "gamey" is actually what a real chicken tastes like....honest!

    The chickens from the store are 2 mo. old birds that have been pretty much confined to taking a few steps to the feeder and a few to the water and then laying down a while before they do it all again. If sold as a whole bird, they have often been injected with a saline solution and packed in water, so they will be mushy and have a mild, almost tasteless flavor. Those sold in pieces have also been soaked in water during processing...often water you would not like to see or know of the contents.
     
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  5. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I keep intending to buy killing cones, but just hanging your birds by their feet with a piece of string works ok too. Do as a previous poster said and just cut the side of the neck, leaving the spine intact. Featherman has some good vids on YouTube showing exactly where to cut. In a nutshell, there is a bare spot below the ear lobe at the base of the skull that is ideal for cutting into.

    Another important consideration for good butchering is having a proper scald. It will make everything else seem easy. I recommend 145 degrees for nearly a minute, until the primary flight feathers pull out with only very light resistance. Pretty much every bad butchering experience I have ever had was due to poor scalding.
     
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    You can make your own killing cones from 2 gal. bleach jugs...they do the job well and don't cost anything near what the metal ones cost. I've used them and they've never broken down on me and they hold the CX and large roos.
     
  7. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Excellent idea. I have seen flower pots and milk jugs used as well. I would've used a milk jug the other day, but my SO was too diligent in throwing them out when they were emptied! :)
     
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I don't know that a milk jug would hold up under the weight or have the capacity to hold a full grown chicken...they are awful flimsy compared to the bleach jug plastic.
     
  9. ScottnLydia

    ScottnLydia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sure others have gone over this many times before, but since you are a little unsure, I'll throw in my two (or three) cents as well. I like to butcher at about 12 weeks for my delaware crosses. I sometimes confine them to a smaller cage for about a week previous to "the day" feeding corn and oats. This step is mandatory for older birds as it gives their muscles time to 'lose tone', or get out of shape. On harvest day, they are not fed, only watered. They are placed in a bleach jug cone for several minutes for them to relax and the blood to rush to their heads. Using a RAZOR SHARP knife, cut both sides of the throat quickly and deeply. You will know that you have done it right since the blood pumps out at a right angle to the neck. Exsanquination is complete in less than 30 seconds but let them drain for about 5 minutes and they will be completely empty.

    Immediately set to the cleaning, dip in hot (140 degree) water and pluck. Remove the crop from the throat being careful not to spill the contents. Then carefully cut the skin around the vent just enough to free it and tightly tie a string around it to prevent poop spillage. Proceed with drawing the bird, saving the giblets. Give the whole bird a thorough flushing with cold water. Make a brine of 1/4 to 1/3 cup canning salt per gallon cold water, as many gallons as needed to completely submerge all the birds you have, and let them soak for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. This doesn't make them salty but will draw out any remaining blood.

    Finally, place the birds in gallon sized zip lock bags in the FRIDGE, not the freezer, for three to four days before cooking or freezing. This is the mandatory aging process that allows the enzymes present in the muscles to start to tenderize them and bring out their best flavor. Prime beef is often aged for 2 or more weeks!

    I worked in the meat cutting trade as a youth while going to school and hunted a bit back then too. I found that what was often described as a "gamey flavor" could be traced to 1) Adrenaline; from a wounded, ill, or unduly agitated animal, 2) Inadiquate cooling; from leaving the gutting and skinning of an animal for too long, or 3) Contamination; spilling of intestinal contents. Minimizing these elements, and keeping healthy, well fed animals is all that is needed for delicious, home grown meat.

    I'm sure your next attempt will turn out better! We never actually fail, we only learn a new way not to do something again!

    ~S~
     
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  10. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2007
    Staples, Minnesota
    This is an excellent post! Thanks for sharing!

    To clarify, was the "2 gallon jug" comment correct? I usually buy bleach in 1 gallon jugs (I think).

     

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