I didn't use wax (good lord, can you imagine the mess?) but hot water works just as well, maybe even better. I've been playing with efficiency again. I figure if one person has to process a certain number of chickens within a specific time frame and puts in full time hours elsewhere to support life as she knows and loves it, well, there's got to be a better way. So I invited Peter Drucker for the day. The nice thing about Mr. Drucker having been dead now for nearly five years is that you can almost always get an appointment last minute and he's more than happy to stay as long as you need him (well rested also). He's also never critical; he just notes results and writes everything down in some form of minuscule (1 pt type, is that possible?) shorthand which makes me wonder if he's using morse code no that's goofy... take too damn long.
This morning I have a pictorial which is not (as far as I'm concerned) the least bit gory but if you still have a very strong aversion to seeing your food prior to the supermarket refrigerator (or worse yet, freezer) section then maybe you'd better close your eyes until it's over.
I didn't have a catcher. Little Girl was off to Gillette's Castle with her dad and Lucia was nowhere to be found. I decided instead of doing one at a time through the entire process I'd do one process at a time, all birds all together. It did not take me long to catch and off with their heads.
One of the mistakes I made was not having enough hot water. It's fine for two birds to share a hot bath but not if you've left them to cool on the ground for too long. I want it noted, by the way, that I did not leave the chickens on the ground with Simon. On the other hand, had I known what I do now about second and third water baths I wouldn't have worried about it or spent so much time struggling with the plucking. The dispatch went so quickly it almost made up for time lost on not quite hot enough birds. Today I have another plan.
Here are all five back inside and ready for defeeting, wing clipping and removal of the fine yummies (great for dogs (just the organs and if you wouldn't eat it cooked, don't give it to your dog raw)) inside. What I should have photographed were the five birds having a second soak in the sink full of very hot water. I think I left them in there for twenty minutes and there doesn't appear to have been any actual flesh cooking although the some of the fat turned yellow. Once they'd had the second soak those feathers just about removed themselves. Don't they look pretty all naked and clean?
What's next is going to be sort of like those cooking shows where you see most of the process but in stages because the set up is done ahead of time which means all the prep is complete (you only see a little for technique) and the final product is ready to come out of the oven at the end of the show, or in this case, go into the freezer. I did each of the chickens above one at a time giving them a third scrubbing to get more of those pesky little quills out. When they were ready to go I dropped them into the giant chicken bag.
OK, hold on. How many giant chicken bags does this woman own and given yesterday's photo how the hell is she going to get another chicken bag into that refrigerator with those first five chickens? Well, here's what happened. While that pile of chickens sat waiting on the counter I took the chickens from the day before out of the giant chicken bag, gave them a forth and final scrubbing, trimmed the necks back a bit more and then double wrapped them; once in plastic and then in foil. When I had all five birds wrapped and ready to go I rinsed the giant chicken bag and started in on the fresh five.
I was VERY tired by the end of the process and still needed to make bread. I kneaded the dough for Pita before my shower and it all worked out fairly well. These five above hit the freezer in the garage last night and the other five are waiting in the refrigerator for their final processing and there are nine more birds, less one named Willis who shalt not be killed per edict of the Chicken Girl, waiting to be next.
There are two reasons I'm doing five at a time. First, I think I'd cut off a finger when it came to number six (or I'd have to give up using the poultry sheers and my time would go right out the window). Second, and maybe more importantly (if I gave up the sheers) I'm pretty sure five is about all the freezer can stand at one time before it gets a bit wonky and starts actually defrosting things because it can't keep up with more than 30 odd pounds of fresh meat.
OK, off to Bikram, followed by a nap (during which I slept so hard yesterday I woke up completely disoriented) and followed by the next batch of lucky winners!