Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Turkey Butchering

Today was the day I needed to butcher three of our heritage turkeys for customers to pick up tomorrow for their Thanksgiving dinners. I had done my research and read up on butchering turkeys this past weekend. It is pretty much the same as butchering out the chickens I have been doing all summer and fall but the scald time is different and I picked up a few other pointers that I hoped would make things go more smoothly. All the accounts I read said it took about an hour to properly dress out a turkey so I was prepared for a long morning.

Unlike the chickens that were just for us to eat here at the farm these turkeys were for others and I wanted them to be carefully prepared and beautifully presented birds.

Well, first thing I needed to do was to create a larger "killing cone" as these 30lb live weight turkeys were just not going to fit into the cut off gallon milk jug I use for the chickens. I found a 5 gallon bucket and cut a triangular opening in the bottom. I then screwed it the wall behind the tool shed next to the chicken sized cone... but lower so I didn't have to lift the 30lb bird so high to get in into the cone. Once that was done, I went up to the house and got my hot water scalding pot ready on the outside grill burner. Grabbed my knife and headed down to the chicken coop to get the first of the toms. Well, not to give awful details but it took me two hours from start to finish before I was happy enough with it. It dressed out at 13lbs. Phew... only two more to go!

Since I do have two young kids I couldn't go right into the second one plus my feet needed a break. I had to feed the kids and just spend some time with them as they had been really good while I was working. By the time I started on turkey number 2 it was 1pm. This one only took about an hour and a half and dressed out at 12lbs.

Still, my fingers were soar from pulling pin feathers so I took a chance and decided to do the third turkey in the morning. A real risk in case all three customers come first thing in the morning. We will have to see.

10 eggs today.

No comments: