Thursday, November 21, 2013
A Plump Farmyard Hen on the Drum
Looks tasty doesn't it. lol
Gave my new homemade chicken plucker a try the other day and processed some meat chickens. It worked great and saved me SO much time.
Sometimes it's not easy raising your own meat, but it's a part of country life. The animals are treated well and the nourishment they give in return can't be compared to store bought.
I set the plucker up outside of the shop, close to the water hose.
Heated a tub of water to around 145F to 160F degrees... the temp went up a bit while simmering. The trick is to keep the water hot enough to loosen the feathers but not hot enough to cook the meat and make the skin soft. Dunk the hens several times in the water, swishing them around. Then pull on a tail (or wing) feather, if it comes out easily, the bird is ready to pluck.
After dispatching the chickens, (I use the old tree stump-axe method) letting them bleed out and giving them a hot water bath, I turned the plucker on and dropped the hens in. I did these one at a time, the birds were huge!
Sprayed the bird with a water hose and used the hose to wash feathers from the inside of the plucker while it was running. The feathers and water drain out the bottom of the plucker.
This is where things got too busy for me to take pics. I had a bird in one hand and the water hose in the other. :/
The bottom rotates, tumbling the bird around removing all feathers...
about halfway through...
I turned the plucker off, dropped the hose and snapped a pic.
the plucked hen ready to process...
I save pretty much everything. What I do not use for food is bagged and frozen for shrimp, crawdad or fish bait.
I chill down the birds as soon as they are cleaned. I like to chill homegrown birds down at least overnight before packaging and freezing.
After chilling the birds overnight I remove any pin feathers, singe the fine hairs and wash the birds. Then dry and wrap them. I like to place something in the cavity of the bird to prevent freezer burn. Usually use a ball of foil or plastic wrap.
Then I wrap the birds and bag them.
These birds were huge. The smallest weighed in at 12 1/2 lbs (on the hoof) and the largest was 19lbs. "Life" got in the way of me processing them on schedule. The birds are the size of turkeys but they taste great. lol
I cooked the smallest bird first. Spatchcocked then slathered it in butter (also placed butter under the skin) and sprinkled with Big Poppa's Money Rub.
Cooked on the BPS drum at 325F until the juices ran clear...
The chicken took up most of the plate...
So I opted for a few slices of breast and thigh meat...
Not sure if it was the drum, the rub or the chicken (maybe a combo of all). This was the tastiest chicken I've had in a long time. Sooo moist and tender.
I was able to make chicken enchiladas, chicken salad sandwiches and chicken rice soup with the leftovers. Definitely a "company" bird or a bird best served when there's plenty of help eatin' it.
The freezer is full of chicken, which is a good feeling. I might have to stew a bird or two up and make chicken and noodles for the winter. Would be handy to have on the shelf. :)