Butchering And Cleaning Your Own Whole Chicken Or Poultry sausage making
Processing and preparing a living, cacklin’, chicken for the dinner table is not trouble-free, nor is the procedure enjoyable or pleasant, although butchering the bird is inevitably essential if folks are to enjoy eating poultry inside a secluded ranch house situated high in the backcountry. As much as people would like to avoid it, they may have to take matters into their own hands now and then – and quite frankly, there is no way to describe the processing of a chicken other than to do it bluntly. Now, take a sharp meat cleaver out into the yard, and git’ really nasty with the thing. Find a tree stump and prepare to chop a chicken’s head off. Using one quick, clean, stroke of the blade, be humane. I realize it may be just a chicken, but the thing is giving up its life to help prolong yours, so give it a little respect. sausage making
Scald the chicken, dipping it into 170-degree F. hot water containing a little dish detergent (breaks up oils in the feathers) to loosen its “pulchritudinous plumage” fer’ pluckin’! Avoid boiling water, as it will initiate the cooking process. Submerge the bird only about five seconds while agitating it, as an even scald is attained. The bird should be dipped in cold water immediately to prevent burning of the skin. Remove the feathers and note the small hairs remaining. Being careful not to scorch the skin, you can easily singe these hairs using any flame.
Remove the chicken’s feet by placing a knife blade into the little divot inside the joint, and over the tendon that attaches the thigh to the foot. Applying downward pressure, cut straight through the joint then wash your hands again (and often) to maintain cleanliness.
Evisceration is a polite word for “gutting”. Do it with the least possible mess by first tying off the esophagus to prevent leakage afterward. Make a shallow cut through the skin between the drumsticks, following the slight curvature of the raised portion of the breast. Removal of the internal organs may be made through a longer lateral incision made through the skin of the abdomen extending to the area just above the anus and tail (removed later). Avoid stabbing or damaging the intestines using the knife carefully. As soon as the bird has been opened, wash everything involved using a steady stream of water, safeguarding sanitation. Inserting a hand into the cavity between the intestines and carcass, scrape out the material along the top inside (the side nearest the breast). As the bird’s shape begins to curve downward near the throat, carefully pull out the inside intestines without breaking the esophagus, allowing them to hang over the tail once outside the carcass. The bundle will now be held only by one intestine leading to the cloaca (bird anus). Sever the entire accrual using one clean cut of a knife, and then cut around the anal opening removing any undesirable tissue. Now that there’s a bit more working space, remove the trachea (windpipe).
The gizzard is the largest, firmest internal organ you’ll find while cleaning a chicken. This organ serves as the bird’s “teeth” where mechanical digestion takes place-using grit to grind up food. Folks preferring to consume the gizzard must first do a bit of prep work. Open up one end using a knife, slicing through the red meat until the cut is deep enough to see a very tough, white tissue lining protecting the gizzard muscle from the grit inside. Beneath the tissue is a yellowish sac, containing a mixture of food and gravel, which must be removed. An experienced butcher equipped with a sharp knife may skillfully cut through the first inner white layer using the precision of a surgeon, without opening or tearing the yellowish sack (which must be discarded). However, many “dudes” hurriedly split the gizzard in half lengthwise, rinse it out well, and then peel away the yellowish layer.
Remove the neck from the body for making great gravy. Many people also like to save and eat the heart. Located between the wings, it is dark and oblong shaped, and slicing away the attached blood vessels just above the layer of fat, will make it appear better dressed. Before freezing the chicken and its parts, wash and flush it thoroughly with clean, cold water.
Types Of Chicken
Chickens are usually classified according to age. Young chickens, eight weeks old, have grown to 4 pounds. They are tender and plump for broiling or frying. Roasting chickens are older and fatter. Here’s the scoop:
A “broiler-fryer” is an all-purpose chicken weighing from three to three and a half pounds and its best to purchase the whole bird allowing at least ½ pound per serving with the bones intact. Pre-cut chicken found in supermarkets offer greater convenience but will cost more per pound. As a general rule, remember “the bigger the bird, the more meat in proportion to the bone”.
A “roaster” is a chicken with a bit of age on his old hyde. A bit larger and older than the broiler-fryer, the “roaster” weighs in anywhere from four to six pounds. Its tender meat is ideal for roasting.
A “stewing chicken” is a hen, weighing from 4-1/2 to 6 pounds. This mature and less tender bird is best cooked by simmering it in stews and soups.
“Cornish Game Hens” (Rock Cornish Hens) are small, young, and specially bred chickens. Cornish hens have all white meat and only weigh from one to one and a half pounds. Allow one bird per person in your recipes.
Cutting Up Your Own Whole Chicken
Place a whole cleaned chicken upon a cutting surface with the breast side up. Remove a wing by cutting into the wing joint with a sharp boning knife, slightly rolling the blade as it finds its way through the curve of the joint. Repeat the process with the other wing.
Remove the legs by cutting the skin between the thighs and the body. Slice through the meat between the tail and the hip joint on each piece. Bend a leg back until the hip joint pops out; cut around the bone and through the remaining meat and skin.
Next, locate the line of fat that runs between a drumstick and thigh. Drumsticks are separated from thighs by cutting along this line. Find the joint by flexing the leg and thigh. Pop it! Then cut through the joint.
Cut the breast from the backbone by holding the body and neck down and cutting along each side of the backbone through the rib joints. Place the breasts with their skin sides down and cut through the white cartilage at the neck to expose the keel bone. This is the dark bone at the center of the breast. Bend back both sides of the breast to pop out the keep bone, and then cut the breasts into halves with a knife or poultry scissors. Remove the skin from a whole chicken breast then place the meaty side down on a cutting board. Cut through the white cartilage to expose the keel bone then bend the breast halves back until the keel bone pops away from the meat. Place a finger along each side of the keel bone to loosen it, and then pull it out. It may come out in pieces. To remove the rib cages, insert the tip of a knife beneath the long rib bone and cut the ribs away from the meat. Cut through the shoulder joint to free the entire rib cage. To remove the wishbone, slip the knife beneath the white tendons on either side of each breast, loosen and remove the tendons. Cut the breast into two pieces.
Brining (brine soaking) meat or poultry with salt and sugar water is a procedure used to increase its moisture holding capacity. This water retention (about 20% more weight) allows a longer time for collagen to be broken down resulting in a moister product when it is cooked. Through osmosis, the salt and sugar enter the cells causing their proteins to denature or unravel. This interaction results in the formation of a moisture-capturing gelled matrix that keeps liquid from leaking out of the meat as it cooks.
Normally, as meat cooks, the loss of moisture is minimal below 120 degrees F. As the temperature of 140 degrees is approached, a significant amount of water is released. The meat cells begin to break down at temperatures higher than 140 F. resulting in even more moisture loss even though the actual juices of the meat are quite safe. Scientists believe that salt and sugar placed into the cells by brining, enable the proteins to stay bonded together longer at temperatures over 140 F., while retaining moisture. Consequently, many chefs and especially BBQ’ers regard brining as a mandatory procedure inside their kitchens whenever preparing fowl. Be aware there are limitations to consider, especially using salt, whenever brining meat, as many traditional barbecue cuts, including brisket, ribs, and pork shoulders, may end up tasting like ham! To make a good barbecuing brine, add a quarter cup each of uniodized salt and sugar to a quart of water and soak meat for an hour. If you are going to grill the meat over high heat, lighten the salt and sugar by half. If you are going to bake or barbecue a turkey or a chicken, try the following brine.
“Frontier Fowl Fluid”
(Poultry Brining Solution)
1 gallon water
1 cup uniodized salt
½ cup molasses
2 tblspns. minced garlic
2 tspns. onion powder
¼ cup black pepper
2 tspns. liquid smoke or ½ oz. maple flavoring
Brined poultry means flavor! Cover any freshly cleaned fowl completely with the brine and refrigerate it several hours or overnight. Rinse the bird completely before barbecuing or smoke baking it. Baste the turkey, chicken, or other bird, every hour with butter and cook only until the meat is 170 degrees F. This is excellent brine for other foods also when used with less time for smaller cuts. Try it with Cornish game hens (1-1/2 hours is plenty), shrimp (30 minutes) and even pork chops.