Questions about butchering . . .

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by scoopy82, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. scoopy82

    scoopy82 Songster

    Dec 19, 2010
    Victoria - Australia!
    Question 1: After killing the chicken, how long do you leave it to hang and drain?

    Question 2: After it has hung and drained, I plan on skinning rather than plucking and as my birds are not meaties they wont have much on them so I plan on using the meat for soup, can you remove the meat and leave the insides in the frame rather than processing the bird as you would for a roast and then removing the meat piece by piece? Does that make any sense? As I cant see the point in removing all the insides when I have no plans on using anything except the meat on the outside.

    Question 3, 4, and 5: After the meat is removed - should it rest in the fridge before going to the freezer? Do you have to chill it such as dunking it in cold icey water or can it go straight in bags and straight in the fridge? How long must it rest there before it can go in the freezer?

    Clearly I am planning for my first time butchering and want to get it all right [​IMG]
    Thanks all!

  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Q1: I do about 5 minutes or so.

    Q2: If you only want meat to make the soup, no reason not to just remove meat.

    Q3: You can rest anywhere from 0 to 72 hours before freezing. This one is up to you. The longer it rests, the more tender the meat. If you are just making soup, tenderness doesn't really matter. In terms of food safety, the faster it cools the better... however we let butchered chickens sit out for a few hours and cook well with no ill effect.
  3. scoopy82

    scoopy82 Songster

    Dec 19, 2010
    Victoria - Australia!
    Thank you silkiechicken [​IMG]

    I have a question 6: I dont think I have a knife that I trust is sharp enough to do the job (in reality I probably do have serveral but I want to be absolutely sure its gonna cut first go) so would a large brand new scalpel blade on a handle be just as good? I have plenty of them and can use a new blade for each chicken.
  4. 2pinkmom

    2pinkmom Songster

    Mar 31, 2010
    I think a scalpel blade would be ideal. The farmers I sometimes get together with to process chickens usually use razor blades for the throat slitting part.
  5. KickinRocks

    KickinRocks Chirping

    Sep 19, 2011
    Question 2: Breast meat is easily removed by cutting on either side of the keel bone (center) then make an L cut at the base of each breast.
    Cut along the collar bone to the wing. Then cut the muscle across at the wing joint. Once those cuts are made the breast meat can either be pulled loose by hand or using a knife you kind of fillet it off the bone.

    Legs and thighs can be removed by cutting along the top of the thigh and popping the ball joint at the hip loose.

    I also use a razor blade or box cutter for cutting the throat. There is no need to change the blade after each bird. Razor blades will not dull that quickly.
  6. OldChurchEggery1

    OldChurchEggery1 Songster

    Sep 27, 2011
    Do be careful if you leave the innards in the carcass. If your blade slips while cutting 'round the thigh area and punctures something, you could have a -no pun intended- foul mess. The skin does make a really rich addition to stock so in my opinion it's well worth the plucking to get a delicious chicken stock at the end :)
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Another option though, since you are making soup, you could just skin the bird and toss all the innards. Bones with the meat/connective tissue will make a great stock for your soup. If you just open the abdomen and take out the innards, it doesn't take more than a minute if you are not saving stuff like liver, heart, gizzard... which also go to make a great rich broth.

  8. LizaBlue

    LizaBlue Songster

    Oct 26, 2010
    Wee Acres
    We just did our first one a few weeks ago with the help of our experienced mother. She had always scalded birds and was complaining that it was going to stink and be a royal mess. I wanted to save the feathers, so I told her I wanted to try dry-plucking, and if that didn't work, just skin the roo. We plucked that baby in no time flat and gathered 2 sacks of feathers with very little mess - she said she'd never scald another bird again! We did wind up skinning anyway, though we could have just burned off the pinfeathers on our grill.

    Glad I read this post. We didn't know to let the bird rest a while to tenderize - he was B-B-Q dinner that night, with tough legs but a tender breast and back meat. We just figured it was because he was 4mos. and free range. Also, I think we didn't let the blood out enough. We chopped off his head, then just held him head down as he twitched and as much as possible as we processed him, but no just "hanging around."

    Guess we'll be better prepared for our turkeys....

    P.S. the old leg of a pair of sweatpants cut off at the knee then slipped over a roo so the elastic ankle is around their head seems to be very comforting to them and makes them easier to hold while butchering if you don't have a killing cone handy.
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Quote:His age would make him tougher. However, if you were quick and put him on the grill before he got stiff... he would still be chewable.
  10. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    Ive does a few young chickens a few different ways. If the chickens are young enough, after they are skinned, you can cut right along the breast bone with a good sharp pair of poultry shears. Open the chicken up, like you were opening a coat, and just scoop the guts out. Or, as was said, just cut off the breast meat and the quarters. Check youtube, theres a lot of really good videos on skinning chickens, or butterflying them.

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