My new butchering trick/technique (contains photos)

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Hummingbird Hollow, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey folks, this is my 5th summer raising meat birds, mostly for the family table. I've always followed the butchering method that has me cutting into the chest cavity below the bird's breastbone, sticking in my hand, trying to loosen all the innards and then pulling them out. Sometimes this works really well and sometimes it is a struggle and a mess. If the liver comes out "pretty" it is saved for a variety of tasty dishes, but if it gets mangled it goes into the stock pot or to the dogs.

    Once the bird is fully processed it is rested for three days in the refridgerator and then I decide whether it will be kept whole for a roaster, halved, pieced out or even butchered down for sausage and stock.

    This Christmas however, my husband gave me a pair of poultry shears (yes it was on my Christmas list). When one of my chickens had to be butchered early due to an injury I was trying to figure out how to get my hand up inside it to remove the innards and just decided to try to use the shears to cut through the breastbone and open it that way. The result was such a clean, easy, tidy process that I decided that I'd do this with most of my chickens and only go back to the old way for those I wanted to save as whole roasters.

    Perhaps this is old news to many of you, but it was a cool discovery for me:

    First photo shows the whole chicken (10 wk old Freedom Ranger Rooster), plucked, neck and feet removed:[​IMG]
    In the second photo I've used the poultry shears to open the chest cavity (note how clean and tidy everything is): [​IMG]
    In the third I've used my fingers to loosen all the connective tissue holding everything in place. The whole package comes out in one shot, including the lungs. A simple cut down one side of the anus and around and up the other side and the cavity is perfectly clean inside. No digging around for missed bits. It is very easy to separate out the kidney, lungs, heart and gizzard without risking damagine the intestinal tract and releasing fecal matter into your carcass. [​IMG]

    Anyway, thought I'd share my "new" butchering technique. I found that having done it this way a few times it actually made the old way easier because once I knew what it looks like inside, where the tougher connections are and was able to get all the innards out with less mess and stress.
     
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  2. greysandy

    greysandy Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for sharing! I will definitely try that technique. It reminds me of high school dissections but I like the idea of how clean it is. Thanks for photos.

    Sandy
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Oh, I'm going to try this!

    What kind of shears do you have? I've tried a few for butterflying/spatchcocking, but they don't cut as well as I'd like. I also have issues with hand cramps, so easy is better.

    I do have problems with my production cockerels having such a small cavity to reach into. I'm a decently boned female, so my big ol hands don't always fit [​IMG]
     
  4. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My shears are called "Good Grips" by OXO (seen here: http://www.chefsresource.com/oxo-go...t0V6DmsfrFPSPpsZGSlMu6MelNAkCkDl6gaAtXh8P8HAQ)

    They come appart for cleaning and I've cut through a chicken thigh with them. However, my friend who was helping me butcher sometimes had me scissor thought the bone right at the top of the breast (perhaps the wishbone) because she has some arthritis and sometimes had difficulty.
     
  5. Weehopper

    Weehopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's a great way to have them ready for BBQing, too.
     
  6. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hadn't thought of that but you are correct. With two out of my three kids away at college most of the year I cut most of my birds in half before I freeze them anyway, so this makes not only the innitial butchering easier but also the packaging and freezing easier as well.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Thanks, I think those are one of the kinds I have. I'll have to give them another try. I'm intrigued by this! We don't roast many of the dp or production cockerels, they get halved or parted out anyway. Thanks so much for sharing!
     
  8. Weehopper

    Weehopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have watched Ina Garten on tv, split them, then remove all bit leg bones, and lay them out flat on a BBQ. Takes half the time to cook.
     
  9. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I asked for the shears because we've gone to raw feeding our dogs and they are great for cutting up leg quarters and backs to feed to the dogs. However, they were a great boon at butchering time for removing the neck (no more grabbing and trying to twist the slippery thing off) as well as removing the feet. I have found that they don't work very well on the meat and really don't work well on the skin, but are great for bone. So, working with both a sharp knife AND the shears may be the way for you to go when you try to halve those dp cockerels,
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Bringing this up as I did it today [​IMG].

    First, it was a great thing for my bantam cockerels. Little things are so darn small I probably could not have physically reached my hand in there, so this was great.

    Second, for a first time processer, or anyone with an anatomy fixation, this is a great method. If you've got older kiddos who would be interested in seeing an animal's workings, this allows a great view. You can easily trace the digestive tract, see the heart and lungs clear as day, you can even see the tubes that carry the sperm from the testes down to the vent. Pretty darn cool, really. Or maybe it's just the nurse in me....[​IMG]

    Things I did run into....

    My scissors aren't very sharp.

    For some reason I had a hard time getting my mind around how to get around the vent/tail. I don't know if sharper scissors would have worked, I used the knife but for some reason still had a hard time. I think it was mostly me, the second bird was a bit easier. I'm going to do one or maybe two more, depending on how the hands hold out, so we'll see if that gets better.


    The scissors did great at taking the heads off, that was wonderful. I'll have to see where I can get them sharpened, or if our knife sharpener will work on them.

    There is also some of a learning curve for not piercing the intestine with the scissors. But even if you do, it rinses off easily.
     

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