Thursday, June 28, 2012

Processing Chickens and a Fried Chicken recipe

Recipe First:

I used a Food Network recipe from Paula Deen, but of course I tweaked it a bit. :)

3 eggs
1/3 cup water
About 4 Tbs hot red pepper sauce 
2 cups self-rising flour (I used bisquick)
1 package of crushed saltine crackers (my addition)
1 teaspoon pepper

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

1 (1 to 2 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into pieces
Oil, for frying, preferably peanut oil, but I used Canola with good results

In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs and mix with the water and enough hot sauce so the egg mixture is orange. In another bowl, combine the flour, crackers, and pepper. Season the chicken with the "house seasoning". Dip the seasoned chicken in the egg, and then coat well in the flour mixture.

Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a deep pot. Do not fill the pot more than 1/2 full with oil.

Fry the chicken in the oil until brown and crisp. Dark meat takes longer then white meat. It should take dark meat about 13 to 14 minutes, white meat around 8 to 10 minutes. With mine, it was dark on the outside before the inside reached temp (these chickens were thick!) so I put them in the oven and baked them until they finished.

We weighed the chickens at 8 weeks old and they ranged from 6-9 lbs before processing and about 4.5 to 6.5 lbs after. We found a grocery sack and a fish scale worked really well for weighing. The last week of their life the 110 chicks were eating about 75 lbs of feed a day! Not to mention they ate so fast it made them hiccup! 

Here are all the posts about this flock (newest to oldest):
One Month Old -Fryer Chick update
Chicks - 19 days old
Chicken update - 12 days old
Chic Pic
Chicks are here!
Waiting on [chicken] Babies

So we finally finished processing our Cornish Chicks. We did 80 the first weekend (6 hours) and 30 the second weekend (3 hours). With all of the families who helped with the cost of the chickens also helping with the butchering, it went pretty well. I can't imagine if we hadn't had all this good help. We found a few things really made a big difference. One was getting the water temp exactly right for dipping before plucking, also the mechanical plucker was a wonderful tool, and a good pair of game shears (heavy duty scissors) worked well for removing the tail, legs, wingtips, etc. Brown paper covered all the tables for cleanliness and easy clean up, but wasn't so slippery as plastic would have been. My hubby is so smart, that was his idea!

After everyone left, we de-boned/separated 11 of my birds before freezing, since I knew I would use them more than whole chickens. When you do that many, it goes pretty fast once you get the hang of it. Here's a video... not amazing, but it will give you an idea.

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