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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. :)


Three Dogs BBQ said...

Thanks for the pictorial Jeanie. That plucker does a good job.

Now, about those chicken feet. I have had them in China. Breaded and fried with dipping sauce. Actually, they are pretty good...

LindaG said...

I never knew the inside of a frozen chicken could get freezer burn.

What kind of chickens do you raise? With all the reading I've done, I can't settle on what sort of chickens we should get.
We only have just so much space, and right now I'm looking at a couple dozen different breeds that I might want.

It gets hot there, right? Is yours a dry hot? Ours is humid.
Sorry for all the questions. Feel free to email me if you'd like. :-)

Ohiofarmgirl said...

great work! and an excellent set up - yay!

cowgirl said...

Welcome and Thanks Bill! :)
I bet those fried feet were tasty! I'll check into a dipping sauce for these. Hope you have a great weekend. :)

cowgirl said...

Hi Linda!
Shoot, you can ask me anything, I don't mind! :)
These were a meat breed chicken that I picked up at the local feed store. They were Cornish Rocks. They are ready to butcher in 6 to 8 weeks but these got huge before I could get the time to process them.
For my regular flock, I like to keep dual purpose birds, they can be used for both meat and eggs.
Right now I have a mixture of Marans, Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, Ameraucanas, Welsummers and some homegrown mixed. I like to keep about 25 hens.

It gets really hot here and dry! Sometimes during the hot summer days I set up a mister over part of the coop to cool the temp down a bit for them. That's when the outside air temperature is 105F and over for several days in a row. They seem to appreciate it. :)

Good luck with what ever you get Linda, I can't wait to see pics of them. :)

Hope you have a great weekend!

cowgirl said...

Forgot to say... I was taught to fill the cavity of a bird before freezing. :)

cowgirl said...

Thanks Ohiofarmgirl! Hope you have a great weekend too! :)

Bushman said...

nice work. Can't beat home grown meat. I canned my venison today. Browned it in a pan and then stuffed into jar with chopped onion and garlic then ladled boiling beef broth over top. 90 minutes at 12 lbs. Looks fantastic. Still cooling down at the moment but I went to the store and stocked up on egg noodles. LOL

Chris said...

Maybe you could toss some rub in the plucker and it could double as one of those Texas tumbler marinator drums :)

Jim Dorchak said...

CG I liked the Buff Brahmas best as they were big and really calm.
As to the plucker, I had a good friend in SC (Hi Steve Miller:) who built a plucker like yours and we would process each others chickens at the same time, kind of like an assembly line thingey. We also found that using the hose worked well in the machine. Also we used highway cones upside down in a ladder to dispatch the hens and they worked great too.
Thanks from Chile
P.S. Thanks for the BBQ sauce Ideas as well. It was a meal saver!
Jim Dorchak

cowgirl said...

Bushman that sound so great! You have my mouth watering! :)
Congrats on getting the venison. Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving!

cowgirl said...

lol Chris, might be worth a try! Thanks! :)

cowgirl said...

Thanks Jim! I love those Buffs too, they are so gentle. :)
Aren't these pluckers something else. So simple but so handy to have!
Glad to hear the BBQ recipes worked out for you. Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving Jim!