Sunday, November 21, 2004

Gobble, gobble

Today we butchered the X-Mas turkey and another turkey for our family that will go in the freezer. This was in preparation for Tuesday when we will be butchering the last 4 -- 3 we are selling and one for our Thanksgiving dinner. I wanted to make sure I could get the process running smooth since folks will be picking up their birds Tuesday evening.

It was a good thing we did this trial run. The first thing we discovered is that turkeys are HUGE! We did the two smallest ones and they dressed out to over 21 pounds each! They are also VERY strong. It took a lot out of me to handle birds that size.

  • I had to buy a plastic kitchen size trash can and cut a hole in the bottom to use as a restraining cone -- they were that big.
  • The birds barely fit into the scalding pot - I know the bigger ones won't so we'll have to pour the hot water into another vessel
  • The birds are too big for the plucking machine. If I used all of my strength to control the amount of weight on the plucking "fingers", I could get just some of the easier breast and back feathers off. The wing feathers need to be pulled by hand, one-by-one. The feather shafts are HUGE.
  • I had to use a heavy meat cleaver to cut off the neck
  • It's very hard to find freezer bags big enough for this size bird -- and when you do, you have to buy a case of 500.
Note on the bags: Someone in town told us they get bags for their turkeys at BJ's Wholesale Club. We are not members but I signed up for a free one day pass and Kar went out to get the bags while I prepared the butchering equipment. She came back with 2.5 gallon zip-lock freezer bags. They were not nearly big enough. At this point we are debating a few options on the bags. The folks buying don't need freezer level of protection since they are eating the birds on Thursday -- but we have 2 that need to go in the freezer in 2 days....