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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're getting pretty good at butchering quickly and efficiently. I've got my butcher station all set up so that the longest part of set up and clean is heating the water for scalding. :thumb:

2 of the kids are very interested in helping with the butchering outside. The others help in other ways. My 11 yr old boy has mastered skinning/plucking (whichever is called for that day) and butchering the cleaned chicken but not quite willing to pull out the guts yet. My 3 yr old girl is now an expert gutter though :D: I do the cutting and her little hands do a most excellent job of getting right in there to remove the lungs along with the rest all in 1 shot. :thumb: She lays it all out after each 1 for me to inspect and we look together to find the bile sac and account for all the organs before I remove the feet. Then she puts it in the ice water while I start the next 1.

We did 10 today and I think Josh skinned half and Robin cleaned half. We finished all 10 along with cleanup in under 1 1/2 hour.

Practice makes perfect eh? :D:
 

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We're getting pretty good at butchering quickly and efficiently. I've got my butcher station all set up so that the longest part of set up and clean is heating the water for scalding. :thumb:

2 of the kids are very interested in helping with the butchering outside. The others help in other ways. My 11 yr old boy has mastered skinning/plucking (whichever is called for that day) and butchering the cleaned chicken but not quite willing to pull out the guts yet. My 3 yr old girl is now an expert gutter though :D: I do the cutting and her little hands do a most excellent job of getting right in there to remove the lungs along with the rest all in 1 shot. :thumb: She lays it all out after each 1 for me to inspect and we look together to find the bile sac and account for all the organs before I remove the feet. Then she puts it in the ice water while I start the next 1.

We did 10 today and I think Josh skinned half and Robin cleaned half. We finished all 10 along with cleanup in under 1 1/2 hour.

Practice makes perfect eh? :D:
I have only butcherd about 15 chickens since I've been raiseing them. I tried the skinning technique but, the carcass was so slippery without the skin I cut myself trying to cut up the carcass & decided to stick with plucking.

What is the purpose of soaking in ice water? Does it help the meat to be more tender? So far our birds have tasted good but, been much tougher than store bought chicken.

We were told to leave the meat in the frig. for 12 hours before freezeing will make the meat more tender but, haven't tried it yet & I haven't heard of your ice water technique yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The ice water is to keep the chicken fresh until we finish them all and move them inside. It also tenderizes them at the optimum time while it's still fresh and the meat is supple. If you let your meat dry out at all you get tough and stringy meat.

The ONLY time your meat should not be cold is when you scald it for plucking. As soon as it is plucked or skinned it should be rinsed in cold water. Then cleaned out and rinsed again in cold water then put in ice water until all are finished up to 2 hours but no less than 15 minutes.

Leave the feet on for a handle. Cut them off last :D: Built in no-slip grip. When you skin it just slice around and pull the skin over the feet. Or if you prefer sting it up by the feet and skin downward. No need to hold the chicken at all until it's skinned. I strung a line between 2 trees like a clothesline then tied loops.... I'll just take a pic of the line LOL Be back in a few minutes :D:
 

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FYI most store bought chicken is not "tender" it is SOGGY and SLIMY. It has been injected with "broth" to "tenderize" it. REAL chicken has texture. That doesn't mean it's tough.

I can't wait until I get my chicken project up and going and can get back to eating real chicken! :D:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Slip knots on the line so you can slide them and slip knots on the ends so you can stick the chicken legs in the hole and slide it closed. I hang 1 up, slit the neck (but not the whole head) and slide it to the end. Do the next. 5 at a time (because I can only do 5 myself in the time I deem appropriate before 1 has 'hung too long') (skinning/plucking is done here also and rinsed in a white bucket)



Workstation - Nice and clean, no flies, specific purpose for the containers and cleaned right away. Gut bucket is behind the metal shelf. The shelf sits on top of 4 tires for my perfect height. The orange thing is an old drink cooler - it keeps my scalding water right where I want it. Perfect temp is when I can hold my hand in the water for the count of 3 with it red but not burnt. - The blue bucket is my clean rinse, cold water for rinsing after the bird is cleaned out, then it goes in the ice cooler with ice water. Everything is hosed out then sprayed with bleach water and left to dry.



When you freeze your chicken in parts pat them dry to remove excess water and freeze them laid out on a baking sheet. Once they're frozen you can put them all in the same bags so they can easily be taken out as needed. Saves space and packaging.



yappat is kind of right. Stores do often inject them with broth or water to 'plump them up' but it's not the only reason. The reason soaking them in ice water tenderizes is not because they were injected. It's because it chills the meat and locks in the natural moisture. When you freeze it just like that the moisture freezes and expands which 'frays' or tenderizes the meat. Commercial birds are plumper because they don't exercise and they do have water injected. They may be tender but ours taste better and are just as moist as tender. :thumb:
 

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Thanx Ma, so the leaving the meat in the frig for 12 hours before freezing was probably bad advice? I will keep ice water handy for each cut but, I only butcher one bird at a time as I'm still not good at it & end up cutting myself any time I rush.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanx Ma, so the leaving the meat in the frig for 12 hours before freezing was probably bad advice? I will keep ice water handy for each cut but, I only butcher one bird at a time as I'm still not good at it & end up cutting myself any time I rush.
Well, yes and no. If you use ice water there's no reason to refrigerate first because it's already cold. And fresher is better so the quicker it's frozen, the fresher it is. If you do NOT use ice water though then you SHOULD refrigerate it at least long enough for it to get cold before freezing to avoid defrosting anything else in the freezer. Covered of course to avoid contamination and also hold in the moisture. If you're going to refrigerate it before freezing you might as well go ahead and marinate it at the same time :D:
 

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I done 80 freedom rangers last week. I use 4 orange traffic construction cones for kill cones. I cut about 4 inchs off end of cones and use a ladder to hold cones. I tryed the ropes to many broken wings and problems with slip knots. I was lucky and found a commerical plucker for 100 bucks. It takes 12weeks to grow meat birds and im good for a year. The average bird weighed 7 1/2 pounds dressed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I done 80 freedom rangers last week. I use 4 orange traffic construction cones for kill cones. I cut about 4 inchs off end of cones and use a ladder to hold cones. I tryed the ropes to many broken wings and problems with slip knots. I was lucky and found a commerical plucker for 100 bucks. It takes 12weeks to grow meat birds and im good for a year. The average bird weighed 7 1/2 pounds dressed.
I'm guessing you use chicken tractors and feed them pellets to get 7 1/2 lb dressed chickens at 12 weeks?
 

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I used chicken tractor at night and free range in day. I used almost 50 pounds a day of pellets couple weeks. Its funny how my 30 laying hens stayed away from the freedom rangers. I also cut the brain stem of the chicken before slit there neck. If you look in side there mouth there are two like slits you insert knife and turn knife in each and it deconnext body from brain.
 
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