Thursday, April 29, 2010

Harvest time for the meat birds is drawing near--update

We decided to put two of these birds out of their misery today. It wasn't a pretty job but we did it. Ed did the chopping block method, which I didn't care for as the blood got all over the bird. Also, the blood pooled in the wings, and I don't know if it was because they weren't hanging upside down when they were uh... slaughtered.

Anyway, I did the rest. The worst part for me was that there is still shit stuck all over the front of them, as all they do is lie around and eat eat eat. So I cleaned off all the poop in the scalding water. It smelled gross. I rinsed it out and cleaned it again but it still smelled funky.

Anyway, the first bird I scalded I couldn't completely get all the feathers to come off. We used a propane torch to try to singe the rest of the hairs off, which worked only a little. And it cooked the skin.

So for the next bird I did a little more research. A site recommended 150 degree water, and you dunk them until the largest feathers on the wing come off easily. This worked better, but it did cook the outer meat a bit. Which wasn't a problem, really, as we had planned on eating them for dinner.

But there were still plenty of little feathers. I didn't feel like dealing with them, so I decided to just skin the birds. Plus I was horrified of the poop that had been previously stuck on the chicken's skin. Gross. I could still smell it and I was terrified of my little boy getting sick.

Gutting them was relatively simple. I was able to find the gall bladder very easily. But I never did find the crop. I did starve them for the twelve hours prior, so maybe they were just completely emptied out. I butchered the hell out of those chickens, so I'm sure it wasn't left on. I don't know if that is a big deal or not.

So I cooked them up. Roasted and plain. I really wanted to see what home grown birds tasted like without any flavoring. I find that with most chicken it seems that you have to add tons of flavoring to get the meat to even be palatable. So I wanted to see if it was true that the flavor would be superior.

It was not. They were dry as a bone too. This probably had something to do with the fact that the skin was removed prior to cooking. And the fact that I checked the birds one minute, blood spurted out of the breast and the meat barely registered at 140. And then 20 minutes later, which was later than I had intended, they were overcooked.

Bleck. I couldn't get the smell of poop out of my palate. I swear the poop flavor infused into the meat. And I know I've tasted it before in most other birds... I just didn't know what the "off" flavor was that I was perceiving. Now I know. Factory farmed birds, too heavy to prop themselves up off the ground, swimming around in their own shit, just as I've seen in these birds.

But there are times when I've had chicken that is just right. There is an old fashioned flavor that comes through occasionally and I wonder just what it is that tastes right about them.

I thought that these birds would at least forage a little, and that perhaps it would influence the flavor of the bird. But they didn't eat anything green nor did they eat anything I'd offered them. I remember trying to give them apples that all my other birds go crazy over (especially my turkeys) and they just looked at me as if I was trying to give them something entirely inedible... what the hell is this? they seemed to say. And so I'm sure their flavor was largely influenced by whatever is in that stupid bag of feed that the feed store sold me in order to get "free" birds. Most likely a lot of soy, corn, some more soy, fishmeal, animal byproduct. From China. GM.

Ugh. I'm dreading the day when we have to process the other ones. Maybe I'll just post them on craigslist.


Laura said...

Dog food?

Sorry for the disappointment.