Proper Order of Things When Shrink-Bagging Meaties

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by FootbridgeFarm, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. FootbridgeFarm

    FootbridgeFarm New Egg

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    Jul 18, 2011
    Hi Everyone...

    My first post!

    I'm curious what the "accepted" order of things is when using shrink bags: specifically when do you age the birds? I assume that the accepted practice is to dress the birds, bag them and then age them in the fridge overnight as an already bagged product but I suppose one could age them overnight as a "naked" carcass and then bag them but it seems more likely to introduce contamination that way.

    I'm especially curious to hear what the on-farm sellers do with their birds... are they aged before selling to customers or do you instruct the customer to refrigerate the bird for a few hours before freezing or maybe you don't worry about aging the birds at all?


    Thanks

    Eric
     
  2. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 5, 2010
    If you're very quick at processing, you can beat rigor mortis. That means putting the carcass into ice or ice water *before* rigor mortis sets in (usually about 15-20 minutes after death). If you get the carcass chilled in that time, aging isn't required. This is what supermarket chickens have been through (chilled before rigor mortis, the flesh stays relaxed).

    However if the carcass takes more than 20 minutes to get chilled, it would commonly be frozen first, then thawed and let rest for a day *on top of* thawing time. For me that means 1 day (in fridge) to thaw, then another 24-48 hours to relax. So I take them out and wait 3 days in a fridge before using the meat. It's usually very relaxed by that time.

    I'm sure there are other ways and explanations...

    cheers
    Erica
     
  3. happydog

    happydog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Erica, I didn't know that. Filing that away for processing day. I was wondering how I'd fit 25 birds in the fridge, lol.

    And for Eric [​IMG]
     
  4. fresheggs4u

    fresheggs4u Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Happydog,
    I have processed birds three times now. Here is what i did. First i froze water in empty milk jugs. Then processed my birds and put them in a cooler of salt water - with the ice jugs. I left them in the cooler overnight and then drained the cooler and replaced the water and salt and ice jug. I did this for three days. By that time the wings and legs moved freely. You can tell when rigor is gone by the movement of the legs. I then cut them up if i wanted to or left them whole. I then30 mininsed them in running water and laid them on a towel and covered them with a towel for about 30 minutes. this allowed them to dry. I them packaged them in the vacuum bags.

    The first time i did not let them dry and i had trouble sealing them.

    The aging made a huge difference.
     
  5. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks, Fresheggs4U. That was very helpful. I'll be processing seven birds this week and learning how to use my new food saver at the same time. I'm glad you added those details!
     
  6. mcf3kids

    mcf3kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    DH & I processed an 8 mo old rooster (probably took over 20 min) and put him into a salt water ice bath as quick as possible. I let him rest in the bath for 5 days and he still didn't relax - was in the same tight muscle position as when we plucked his feathers - is this an age thing or should we have waited longer to cook him? We cooked him after 5 days of resting - low and slow - he was OK but nothing special.
     
  7. bwmichaud

    bwmichaud Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I kill, pluck, eviscerate and then put into ice water. This only takes a couple of minutes. they chill in the ice water for a while then they go into the house where they are rinsed and "detailed" inside and out. I then place them on 22oz beer bottles to dry then I bag them in the shrink wrap bags, seal the bag with the metal ring, pierce a small hole in the bag to let air escape and dip them in 175 degree water to shrink the bag. I dry the bag off, weight the chicken, add the weight to the label along with the processing date and then apply the label. Then the chickens go into the fridge. I don't sell the chickens or eat them on the same day that they are processed. I will sell them and they can be consumed the next day. It works well and I have had zero complaints. Some people swear that they need to be aged for 2 or 3 days but I this method has worked well for me and I have not seen a difference between aging them for 1 day or 3 days. Any chickens that are not sold or consumed in 3 days get put in the freezer. I find that people prefer to get the chickens fresh rather than frozen. I used to vacuum seal them but I've switched to the shrink wrap bags for the whole chickens. They look very professional this way and I've received great feedback from my customers. I actually have people that will buy my chickens because of the shrink wrap bags. The farm that they used to buy from just put them in ziplock bags.
     
  8. bwmichaud

    bwmichaud Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2010
    Quote:Is this what your chicken looked like?
    [​IMG]

    If not, disregard the rest.

    I used to kill my DP cockerels and hang them by the feet to pluck them. Since I'm not a very fast plucker, they would stiffen up in this position. Whatever position they are in when they go into the bath is the position they will be in when they come out of the bath. If you can keep them in more of a natural position while you pluck them or if you can pluck them really fast, they won't end up looking like a rubber chicken. Most chickens that are over 20 weeks old I turn into chicken taco meat.
     
  9. FootbridgeFarm

    FootbridgeFarm New Egg

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    Jul 18, 2011
    Thanks for such good advice. I really appreciate it.

    I think I'll follow bwmichaud's steps, it sounds like a good plan.

    kill
    pluck
    clean
    chill
    drip dry
    bag
    shrink
    refrigerate overnight
    freeze

    E
     

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