Processing a Chicken

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by CCourson05, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. CCourson05

    CCourson05 Popping like kettle corn...

    Jan 5, 2011
    Hickory Flat, MS
    Every thread I find has industrial equipment, and I was wondering how I would do it without having a scalder or plucker?!?!? [​IMG]
  2. codymax2

    codymax2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2010
    Liverpool, NY
    Absolutely!! Just need a very sharp knife. You could skin the chicken, but if you wanna keep it with the skin all you need is a big pot o boiling water, dispatch bird, swirl in the water till feathers come out easy, remove the bird and pluck! Everything is less complicated then ya think [​IMG] There is a great sticky at the top of the meatbirds page on how to clean the brid with great pics!! Oh And they are very much tasty!!!!
  3. CowgirlJules

    CowgirlJules Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 26, 2010
    Atwater, CA
    I don't have anything industrial. I do have a turkey fryer and a big stock pot, and I use those. Sometimes for just a bird or two, I'll heat the water on the side burner of my grill, works fine and I don't have to drag out the fryer.

    My killing cone (which you don't need, but makes things handy) is a cut down traffic cone set upside down in a sawhorse. Cones are about $6 at industrial supply places. I use a scalpel blade from preference, but I had those already for a taxidermy hobby. I pluck by hand, although maybe my husband will make me a drill plucker someday. It helps to have at least one kid willing to help with the plucking.
  4. bucket04

    bucket04 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2011
    Falcon, Colorado
    I pluck by hand..

    You only need pot of water around 145 degrees (the first time, I used a pot and built a fire under it.... now I have a turkey fryer to keep the water at temp.) Dunk and swirl the bird for a half a minute or so, and then try to pluck a feather from the tail or wing.... if it doesn't come out fairly easily, dunk and swirl again.

    I will be butchering three more soon (was supposed to be done a LONG time ago, so maybe I'll get to them today.....) I will add a pot of ice water to my lineup, as well as an ice chest to throw them in afterwards so I can quickly move to the next bird.

    Plucking by hand is not difficult at all... the only issue I have with it is when the feathers stick to my hands.... I just dip my hands in water to release them.
  5. mywifewasonherenowiamalso

    mywifewasonherenowiamalso Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2011
    i dont pluck, its to slow

    i takes 5 min or less my way. i think its how you do gamebirds?

    just kill and drain blood, and grab skin on the neck and pull in 2 directions.

    you will end up with just flight feathers and tail feathers.

    cut wings at "elbow" and cut the tail and feet off

    oh yeah and pull guts out and save what you want.

    its not as wastful as you might think-i like skinless chicken anyways

    they are warm still when they go in the freezer- and rabbits are still twitching this way
  6. BoomChickaRocka

    BoomChickaRocka Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 24, 2011
    i do mine with a machete and a pen knife. Can easily be done without the machete. take the head take the skin, take the guts quarter, set, freeze, simple!!
  7. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    I use a scalpel ( can use an Xacto knife with the size 22 blade) and my water bath canner on the stove [​IMG] Oh, and a rope to hang them from, and a plastic bag to throw things away. I posted my blog somewhere on here on how to process with only this stuff, nothing industrial [​IMG]
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    If you pluck it, you need to scald it. You can pluck by hand. Where the pluckers come in real handy is if you are processing several at one time. Plucking by hand is slower, but if you are only doing a few, plucking by hand works OK. But you do need a pot of hot water big enough to dunk the chicken in. Like Bucket04 said, once the wing feathers come out easily, it is ready.

    You'll find that we do it a lot of different ways. Part of that is different experiences, part is what equipment we have on hand, part is how many we do at one time, and part is what the end use is. I cut mine into pieces when I butcher. That makes a difference. I also free range mine so feed does not cost much. And I only do a few at a time. I prefer them live and walking around until I need them as opposed to being in my freezer if the power goes out. If you are raising broilers, you don't have that option.

    Especially for young birds, I often skin them. After dispatching them, I cut the feet off just at the bottom of the drumstick. Then, I make a cut across the breast and start working the skin off the legs, wings, and the rest of the body. The wings can be a problem. I usually have to cut under where the big feathers grow to loosen that enough so I can pull it off, and I discard the wing tip. There is just not enough meat there to make it worth the effort to skin it.

    When I get the skin pulled back to the vent area, I cut the tail off and cut around the vent. From there, it is just like a plucked chicken.

    Good luck! There are ways without the big equipment, but if you are doing several at one time, the investment in some of the equipment is a pretty good choice.

    Good lick!
  9. Allen095

    Allen095 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 23, 2011
    East Texas
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2011
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I use the backs, necks, wings, feet, gizzards and heart to make chicken stock, then pick the meat off the back, wings, and necks. I usually get about 11 pints of stock out of two carcasses, but I usually process older chickens, not broilers.

    That meat I pick is good for chicken tacos, casseroles, chicken salad, anything you would use cooked chicken meat for. I usually get a little over three cups of cooked meat out of two carcasses.

    A trick to cleaning the feet is to scald them for about 25 to 30 seconds. The outer layer of scales and the toenails slip right off. If you don't scald them, it can take a lot of scrubbing to get the feet clean enough for me to use them. They really enrich the broth.

    Before you say yuk, chicken feet are a delicacy in China. In 2008 the US exported around $300,000,000 worth of chicken feet to China. That's a drop in the bucket in the trade imbalance, but every $100,000,000 helps.

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