Allotment Gardening Advice Help Chat

Poultry and Pets => Poultry FAQs and other Information => Topic started by: Bodger on October 02, 2008, 18:35

Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: Bodger on October 02, 2008, 18:35
I broke the neck of this Light Sussex cockerel this morning. Using baler twine I then suspended it from the beam of one of our outbuildings and commenced plucking it.

(http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m180/kcooper2006/dr1.jpg)

I took it nice and steady, so as not to risk ripping the skin.


(http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m180/kcooper2006/dr2.jpg)


It didn't take too long to make some visible signs of progress. The tail feathers were pretty easy.


(http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m180/kcooper2006/dr3.jpg)


Its looking a bit more like a chicken you'd buy from the supermarket now.


(http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m180/kcooper2006/dr4.jpg)


The last job I did outside, was to remove the head and the very ends of the wings.


(http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m180/kcooper2006/dr5.jpg)


Into the house now.


(http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m180/kcooper2006/dr6.jpg)


 I made an incision vertically up the vent so that I can get my hand into the body cavity. I then pull the intestine and body organs out. I run cold water through the chicken to clean it.


(http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m180/kcooper2006/dr7.jpg)


I cut the neck from the chicken and retain it along with the gizzard and heart to make the gravy.


(http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m180/kcooper2006/dr8.jpg)


I prepare the gizzard by cutting it open and removing the grit and food stuff. I also pull the lining away from the gizzard and discard it.


(http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m180/kcooper2006/dr9.jpg)


It was tricky taking the photographs because I was on my own,but I have a few more chickens to despatch. If there are any steps that you are not sure about and I should be able to go over it again.
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: richyrich7 on October 02, 2008, 20:21
Great Bodger, do you pluck against the direction of feather lay or with ?
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: Bodger on October 02, 2008, 20:46
I always pluck against the grain Rich :D
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: richyrich7 on October 02, 2008, 20:49
Cheers planning on growing my own next year if I can squeeze them in, difficult to turn a 70' back garden into a smallholding  :lol:
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: Kate and her Ducks on October 02, 2008, 21:43
Thank you for a fab thread. I feel much better prepared for the next time. :roll:  The one thing I found hard to do the first time from line drawings in cook books was the preparation in terms of gutting, separation the neck etc.

The first time I was presented with an unprepared bird (plucked at least!) Two of us spent about 5 minutes looking at this bird trying to work out where to start! To say that we butchered it would imply it didn't look like we had set a pit bull on it! :oops:   Any butcher would be ashamed.










To be fair this was some time before I ever got my birds. :oops:  :oops:  :oops:
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: agapanthus on October 02, 2008, 21:52
Do you not keep the liver Bodge?
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: Bodger on October 02, 2008, 22:43
I've got someone whose asked me for some today.
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: SnooziSuzi on October 02, 2008, 23:09
Thanks for posting this thread Bodger.  Can't wait to do mine for Yule and this will really help.

Do you need any special tools to cut the neck / legs etc?
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: Bodger on October 02, 2008, 23:16
I can never spell this correctly but I use garden seceteurs.
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: Foxy on October 03, 2008, 12:22
Really useful as I will be doing my own birds soon -a daft question though when birds are slaughtered is it best to hang them first or can you just ,prepare and roast?
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: Bodger on October 03, 2008, 12:45
Whether its tradition or whether it has any practical reasoning behind it, I don't know but you are supposed to let all meat cool down before cooking it.
Theres no need to hang chicken once you have plucked and or gutsed it. Just somewhere cool and out of the way of flies.
After killing a chicken, its best to hang it up in the manner that I've shown so that gravity takes the blood out of the body, so that it pools in the head area. This does not take very long.
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: Gwiz on October 03, 2008, 19:23
great thread, Bodger. I will be helping a friend "deal" with some birds next january, I feel better prepared now! :D
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: agapanthus on October 03, 2008, 22:38
Quote from: "Bodger"
I've got someone whose asked me for some today.


Ahh!!
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: drdave on October 23, 2008, 10:54
thanks a lot for this. One of the nurses at work has promised me a brace each of partridge and pheasants. Is the process essentially the same with game birds? When you make an incision in the vent do you cut out the anus or just make a slit? I am not squeamish but I havent done it before. Seems a bit like a laparotomy though!
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: Bodger on October 23, 2008, 13:16
Just a split Dave, you obviously wont have as much room to manouvre. I don't know whether I can say this, but its a two finger job :D

The skin on a pheasant is far more tender than on a chicken and it splits far more easily. Infact, I sometimes skin the bird entirely, especially if its been heavily damaged from being shot. This takes a matter of seconds rather than minutes as well. :D
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: compostqueen on December 23, 2008, 16:10
I got my bird today, a chicken, got no room in the fridge so I've put it outside in an outbuilding. It's 8 degrees in there at the moment (4.10 pm). Will it be ok there til I need to cook it on Yule day.  I know they say to put them in the fridge but I'd have to empty everything else out  :roll:
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: unaspenser on December 23, 2008, 19:30
Thanks for that, Bodger.  Hope to have a few of my own next year this time.  Let us know how it tastes, eh? :)
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: agapanthus on December 23, 2008, 20:58
Quote from: "compostqueen"
I got my bird today, a chicken, got no room in the fridge so I've put it outside in an outbuilding. It's 8 degrees in there at the moment (4.10 pm). Will it be ok there til I need to cook it on Yule day.  I know they say to put them in the fridge but I'd have to empty everything else out  :roll:


It'll be fine compost....we've still go our turkey hanging in the shed and lots of other goodies too.....have to do the same every year, never enough room in the house ;)
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: compostqueen on December 23, 2008, 22:14
I thought as much but I did worry so I bunged it in a cool box with some ice blocks

Ta for the reply. I can stop worrying about it now  :D
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: Fifitrix on January 21, 2009, 15:19
Hallo everyone - I've posted a post like this elsewhere on the forum but thought at least this way it would get your attention!  :D

One of my chicks is now a very large handsome boy and has started crowing.  We would like to eat him  :shock: , er I think  :? .  So am going to do the darstadly dead tomorrow.

Have you all had a go at dispatching now?  What was it like?  Are there any ladies that did it?  My hubby's refusing to get involved and I'm worried I'm not strong enough (not because I'm a weakling  :)  but because he's so big.

Also how did you get on with all the plucking etc.  Any more tips?  I don't have a barn to hang it from.  Anything else I could use (er garage is full but I do have a conservatory - how messy is it? :roll: )

All top tips gratefully received.  :)
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: SnooziSuzi on January 21, 2009, 16:52
Well famously I got it wrong and took a lot of (justified) stick for it...

http://www.chat.allotment-garden.org/viewtopic.php?t=28156&highlight

it's not as easy as it may look - you need more stregnth than you think to start with and don't think of him as anything other than a dinner; if you attach human emotions to a chicken you'll never be able to do it  :?
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: unaspenser on January 21, 2009, 20:34
My husband did a real mess of a job on our first rooster not too long ago... he didn't wrench the neck nearly hard enough and it really upset us both to see him suffering.  Hubby eventually gave him a good knock on the head so he didn't struggle before giving the neck that really solid pull it needs.  Also check out the poultry pages for info on how to butcher properly.  No offense to the creator, but the instructive photos in that other sticky thread don't give nearly enough detail for a first-timer (or so I found out).
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: Bodger on January 22, 2009, 06:50
Hi
Boise lives in Idaho :D ( I do pub quizzes :oops: )

When killing a chicken, the word wrench doesn't really portray the manouvre required. To dislocate the neck or break it, call it what you will, what is required is for the vertebrae to go in an unatural direction. A straight direct wrench is not what's required. Its difficult to explain even in the best of articles how to really do it. Its hands on experience thats needed.
In reality, its so easy to do, is very humane, doesn't require super strength and should not end up as  a tug of war competition between you and the chicken. Your first experience of killing a chicken should be a ' happy' one It shouldn't leave you or the chicken in a traumatised condition. Its a knack thats quite easily picked up. Its just difficult especially in an urban environment, getting that initial experience.
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: pushrod on January 24, 2009, 10:40
Good photos bodger - one thing you didn't mention (but it looks like you did) which might help the inexperienced is -

when starting on the rear/ vent end after putting the first cut in - carefully cut around the vent (sharp scissors are good for this). The idea being so that you never have to cut through the intestine, but can pull it away from the carcass with the small patch of skin from around the vent still attached to the rest of the gut. You will eventually snap a bit of the intestine but that will be high up in the body cavity nearer the head end.

One other point is that a bird is easier to clean and less messy (if it goes slightly wrong) is to starve the bird for 12 to 18 hours before hand. Giving it a few grains of corn just before you do the deed can often reassure the bird.

Not meaning to detract at all in any way from the brill original post  :)
Title: Plucking and Dressing a Chicken for Cooking - with pictures
Post by: matron on January 24, 2009, 19:39
We have been given some pheasants so I am going to show OH this thread for him to have a go at preparing them.
Thank you Bodger.  :lol: