When to butcher for a fresh thanksgiving bird

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by CDennis, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. CDennis

    CDennis Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2009
    This is my first year to butcher turkeys, they will be 6 month old Heritage hens and I was wondering how long they will need to age and such to be ready for thanksgiving. I would hate to butcher too early or too late and ruin the bird. Any pointers.
  2. Lotsapaints

    Lotsapaints Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2010
    Paso Robles, CA
    4 or 5 days before unless you're going to smoke it
  3. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2008
    We have a bunch of folks come over for it and due to work/church schedules we have always done them the Saturday before. So I agree, 4 or 5 days earlier should do it.
  4. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    We do ours the weekend before Thanksgiving

  5. Liamm_1

    Liamm_1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    wow, how cool that must be, processing your own Thanksgiving birds!
    I saw a video on youtube of processing Turkeys, those guys can be really big, they even had a couple 50 pounders!
  6. hbecht

    hbecht New Egg

    Nov 2, 2010
    For those who do your birds a week before Thanksgiving I assume you just keep it in the fridge and everything is fine? What if you had to process your bird two weeks before Thanksgiving? Would you need to freeze it? And do you freeze immediately after the processing? Thanks for your help.
  7. Tunastopper

    Tunastopper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2010
    I always age the birds for one week at 40 degrees. I brine, inject, marinade or rub after the 7 days are up. Depending on the recipe can add a additional day before cooking.

    If I freeze my bird it is after I age it.
  8. CDennis

    CDennis Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2009
    7 days at 40 degrees? Gosh I thought that would be too long to keep them w/ out cooking or freezing. Great to know. Thanks!
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Yeah, we did a week in the fridge at about 40F. A week is fine. Those chickens you buy at safeway have a use or freeze by date that is about 7 days out. Add an extra day of processing, an extra day of shipping, and if you cook on that 7th day of use by, you have a 10 day old bird that has sat in the fridge. However, Storage of those are closer to freezing in the meat case, but that meat case is open to the air.
  10. ShadyHoller

    ShadyHoller Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2010
    Willamette Valley
    Quote:I'm just chiming in to reiterate the need to brine. I think for heritage breeds, especially those who have been able to move around and develop tougher muscle than factory-farmed birds , a good soak in the brine is essential. Most grocery store birds are pre-brined. I'm always experimenting with the brine. This year, I think we are going to dry age for a few days, and then brine for 24hrs.

    ETA: Adding this link, called "brining basics."

    Last edited: Nov 2, 2010

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