Thursday, October 7, 2010

Turkey Processing Part 1

DISCLAIMER: Please don't read the following post if you don't want to see pictures of turkeys being processed for food. I'm not showing the actual killing, but I do show plucking and there is a little blood and some folks might not care to see. If you'd rather not see them, this is your warning!

Two weekends ago David and I processed 4 of our 9 turkeys. We started by getting the scalding water hot. We used the old fashioned fire method because we haven't yet bought a portable gas burner.

After we killed each turkey, I'd scald it in the pot and then pluck it. Plucking was the longest part. It took about 5 minutes per bird to get all of the feathers out. The majority of the feathers came out easily but there were straggling pin feathers I'd have to pick out individually.

After the bird was plucked, it went into a cooling bath of cold water for a little while so I could kill and pluck the next bird. After they were all killed and chilling in the water, I started the actual cleaning part. This stainless table works really well. I set up three for entrails, one for feet, and one for "keeper" organs. I keep the feet for stock, and I keep the necks, livers, hearts, and gizzards for cooking.

I gutted and cleaned each bird, which took a few minutes. I think this is my "favorite" part. I don't mean I really enjoy it, but I mind it the least. It was really nice to have that large body cavity versus the broilers which seem tiny in comparison!

I am really happy with how the birds looked!

Here they are all ready to go in the freezer. Out of the 4 we killed, 3 were broad breasted white and 1 was a broad breasted bronze. The bronze was a tom, and he was pretty lanky, weighing in at 15.2 lbs. The largest was a white tom which weighed in just shy of 20 lbs. The other 2 whites were hens and they each weighed 16 lbs.

Two of these birds are for my sister, one is for my mom, and the other is for Thanksgiving. The remaining 5 are for us and other family members. They'll be processed in the next few weeks.

I thought I'd be more sad to say goodbye to the turkeys, but it really didn't bother me as much as I thought it might. It probably helps that I still have 5 left. I can't wait to taste that first bite of Thanksgiving turkey!


Beth said...

Yum! They look great! And your pictures don't seem gruesome at all ... maybe i'm calloused. ;)

That's so awesome to do about the same amount of work as a chicken - but to get so much more meat. Sounds wonderful. My husband doesn't want to raise turkeys, no matter what i say, but i can't imagine how satisfying it would be to have your own home-raised turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner! Awesome!

Kim said...

Well, I agree. That didn't look too bad. I had imagined picking feathers for hours. 5 minutes doesn't seem like long for such big birds. We might have to get broilers in the spring. Maybe even turkeys too. Thanks for sharing this Katie!

Becky said...

I'm so excited about my turkey's, Katie! Thank you so much for raising and processing them for us! I can't wait for Thanksgiving :)

Deb said...

Great job Katie!! I know that they take up a huge space in my freezer! They look great and I can't thank you enough for raising such healthy meat for our Thanksgiving meal! Thank you so much again! Love, Momma

Deb said...

I wanted to come back and say "what a great job you and David did processing those turkeys". I kept thinking of all the work that went into it, yet you'd do that for us. Having watched the Amish do turkeys for years, I know it's heavy, thankless work. I am in awe that you can do this and do it so professionally. They are beautifully processed sweetheart. Thanks again hon. Momma

Joanne said...

Beautiful looking turkeys!

Jennifer said...

Very Cool Katie! They look great and I bet taste good!!! Man I wish we lived by each other so I could come over and watch.

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