plucking--what did I do wrong?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by zachslc, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. zachslc

    zachslc Out Of The Brooder

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    I processed my first chickens yesterday, and all went fairly well except for the plucking. I had three cockerels. I let them bleed out then gave them a pretty long (30 seconds or so) dunk in hot water followed by a dip in ice water and then sitting in the sink until I got to the next step. I was doing a step at a time to all three birds--that is to say dunking them all, plucking them all and so on. The first one I plucked was easy and I didn't have a problem, but on the second two I tore the skin considerably while trying to pluck them. Was this likely a result of having them sit around after the ice bath or was it something somewhere else in the process? Too long in the hot water? The water was just short of boiling. I don't know the exact temperature because my candy thermometer was not long enough.

    I ended up skinning the other two birds because I had made such a mess of them. So much for my perfect golden-brown roast chicken.
     
  2. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Overrun With Chickens

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    where did you come up with the idea to chill them??

    too little too late.. you should have done one at a time.. especially for your first time and with no help..

    try it again..
     
  3. Splash_Guard

    Splash_Guard Set Free

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    I don't remember ever observing them being chilled during the process. Is this something new?
     
  4. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    yeah, no ice water, maybe after they're plucked, to rinse off and cool em down, but not till their little carcasses are nekkid.

    and yeah, do one at a time if you're all alone at first, maybe when you get good, you can kill a second, then pluck the first while the second is bleeding out, then just before you start to pluck the second, kill the third, but still, it takes a while to get that fast. Their feathers gotta be hot and stinky (UGH! hate that smell) to pull out easy. It sounds like your hot water was the right temp though, just short of boiling. I'm sure there's some more exact temp listed somewhere, but, that's worked for ... well, probably centuries!

    [edit] look over this link! http://www.bobrow.net/kimberly/chickens/butchering/PluckDraw.htm I'm not big on butchering, but I can and will do it if necessary... just don't love it. This link is very clear.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  5. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Your water was probably too hot, and/or your dunk was too long. The dunk in ice water wasn't necessary, but I can't imagine it would have hurt anything. I'm assuming you did it to stop them from additional cooking once they were out of the scald. I've heard of other people doing that as well. You have to get the right mix of time and temp. Everyone's is different, but a thermometer helps a lot. Definitely do them one at a time.
     
  6. zachslc

    zachslc Out Of The Brooder

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    Salt Lake City
    I got the icewater thing from the sticky at the top of this board. It said it helps to keep the skin from tearing.
     
  7. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Ahh, well, not sure then. Maybe it IS that the water is too hot then, could well be, cause we heat the water inside, then haul it outside in stainless steel milking buckets, which probably cools it more... by the time you haul it out and pour it into another big kettle... that tutorial said 140 degrees, which is lots lower than boiling, hmmm.

    (I do it outside cause of the smell)

    We dunk em closer to a minute though, so I don't know what to tell you, I guess we all have to try a few ways to see what works best for each of us.
     
  8. zachslc

    zachslc Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks, all.
     
  9. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Overrun With Chickens

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    I still suspect the cooling made the plucking go bad..

    and worrying about cooking the bird is causing people to be paranoid about scalding them long enough.. It takes a lot to cook a chicken..
     
  10. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

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    Sounds like it was the cooling. In industry, birds are not cooled because it can harden the carcass and make the feathers more difficult to pluck from the skin.

    I'd say "nix" the cooling after the scalding next time around.
     

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