Sunday, October 4, 2009

Processing Day...and Playing Dead

Saturday was processing day for the chickens! I was pretty excited about this because 1) I wouldn't have to feed the broilers any more (it isn't cheap) and 2) I was really excited to see how the birds dressed out.

We loaded the birds in the truck (22 birds) and took them to Triple J Farm. I won't go into much detail about the processing, because I've already done that.

Here are the birds after their makeover.

I kept some of the gizzards to use in gravy and stuffing. I think gizzards are pretty cool. Is that weird?

Gizzards are a very tough, muscular organ. Their purpose is to grind up whatever the chickens eat.

I need to clean these.

I turn the gizzard up on its side.

Then slice into it with a sharp knife. I don't cut all the way through, I leave the two sides connected at a point.

Then open it up, and VOILA! Food! If you're not squeamish, click on the picture to enlarge it. You can see lots of tiny stones (the birds eat them to help grind the feed), bits of grass, and chicken feed. The kids thought this was pretty cool.

I scrape the contents out.

Then rinse well. The lining of the gizzard is extremly tough. I even convinced the kids to touch it so they could see what it felt like.

I divided the gizzards into 2 bags and froze them for use later. I also kept the feet so I can make stock with them.

I also decided to keep most of the livers. I used to eat fried chicken livers when I was younger, but I came to my senses. I know my mom likes them still, so I saved her some. I had an idea though.

I took some livers and cut them into strips, then cut the strips into little pieces.

I arranged the pieces on dehydrator trays. Next time I do this, I need to spray the trays with non-stick cooking spray. Those little suckers didn't want to come off. Also, drying liver doesn't smell all that great, so I'll make sure to put the dehydrator in the basement or outside next time.

This is what I ended up with. Little dried liver treats perfect for dog training. And they're all natural, from free-range pastured chickens!

The dogs will do anything to get them. See?


Linda said...

I do remember you sitting in your highchair eating chicken livers.

Kelly or Alex said...

I grew up in the south and we would fry the gizzards. They can be tough but not too bad. When you thaw your gizzards, the yellow membrane on the inside of the pouch pulls off. It is yellow from bile excreted into the gizzard. It comes off pretty easy and leaves the inside nice and clean. Hey, I'm a gizzard expert. LOL. Enjoy.

katiegirl said...

Linda- Ack! Seriously?

Kelly-I've never had them fried. I don't think I'm brave enough to try that yet! I should have peeled the lining before I froze them, but I figured I'd just do it when they thawed. When I'm ready to fry them, I'll ask you for a recipe! :-)

Becky said...

Wow, Katie! You're such a great dog trainer. Good job, Elmer! :)

That's so cool that you took the kids with you to process the chickens. What did they think about the whole process.
How much did the chickens weigh when they were done?
Those liver dog treats are such a great idea!!
I loved seeing the gizzards. I loved disecting animals in biology so seeing that stuff is facinating to me.

katiegirl said...

Hey Beck,

We didn't actually take the kids with us to process them. We were a little unsure of how they'd take it. They just watched the gizzard part.

Patrick said...

The best thing to do is prepare a flour mixture like you would for fried chicken and roll the gizzards and livers in that and fry them. My family loves this and I only recently started eating them. It is really good.

Deb said...

Fried chicken livers - YUMMY!! I can't believe that Elmer already knows Bang Bang!! You could teach a penguin to fly Katie!!! He is so very cute! I read that dog handlers use dried liver. Those chickens came to a noble end! Delicious! Love you, Momma

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