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Part 2: How to Butcher a Chicken

Once you've butchered and plucked your chicken, learn how to finish processing it for your table.


After butchering and plucking a chicken, the next processing step is evisceration, or removing the chicken's inner organs. Many of these organs, such as the heart, liver and gizzard, can be saved to eat along with the meat, while others should be discarded appropriately.

Watch the video below to learn proper evisceration and cleaning techniques and how to bag the meat for future use.

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Part 2: How to Butcher a Chicken

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Reader Comments
Great video. Two important omissions: the oil gland, and aging. He elected to cut off the whole tail which I have not seen done before. In the process I believe he removed the oil gland on the back near the tail. If you elect to leave the tail on (minus the feathers)you need to remove the gland which is a bump on the back immediately behind the tail. Cut in toward the back a bit to get the whole gland. Easy to do and important.
Secondly, if she brought her chicken home and cooked it that night she would be very disappointed because it would be very tough. The birds must be aged in a cool environment for at least 24 hours. You basically have to get them on the other side of rigor mortis. There are two basic methods; a water bath, or dry. Some people claim the dry method makes for a more flavorful bird. I have always used a water bath because I don't have an old refrigerator or other cold, secure place to hang them for 24 hours. After evisceration, cool them as quickly as possible (ice bath), and then keep them cold (not frozen) for at least 24 hours and then bag them and freeze them or enjoy a fresh chicken dinner. Most of us don't have much of an appetite for chicken for a week or two after slaughter, but don't worry, it will come back!
John, Waterford, ME
Posted: 11/15/2013 8:03:11 AM
great videos! we processed our first chickens today, VERY old layers (7-8 years!). went very smoothly. definitely recommend for newbies. thank you so much for them.
Stacylynn, Ashford, CT
Posted: 10/14/2013 4:27:58 PM
For Jim with his tough Red Broilers.

First, how old are they? After 10-12 weeks, ranging chickens start to get tough so process them younger. If they are young enough, after processing, store in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours before eating or freezing to allow for the meat to tenderize. This is like hanging a beef or deer carcass.

Most likely though, the birds are getting too old for roasting - stew them or use a pressure cooker. You'll get rich deep flavor.
Bev, Stoughton, WI
Posted: 9/21/2013 5:34:03 AM
I have butchered several chickens, Red Broilers, and the meat is tough. Does anyone have suggestions on what I might be doing wrong? My scalding water is about 180 degrees and I cool them down after I pluck them. Could that make a difference?
Jim, Tierra Amarilla, NM
Posted: 9/6/2013 7:06:27 AM
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