Homestead Poultry Butchering: Evisceration: 1
Table of Contents
Crop, windpipe, and esophagus
Start the evisceration at the skin where neck joins breast. Using your small knife, slice through the skin on the left side, and continue slicing through skin (only) to make a full circle around the neck. As you slice, you expose the crop, a semi-translucent membranous pouch (to the right of the bird’s neck) in which the bird stores its food for pre-processing, before passing it on to the gizzard. Because you wisely starved your slaughter birds overnight, the crop is empty and this step is not messy. If the crop is full, it is no great problem, the contents will spill over the top of the carcass and the work surface, but a thorough rinse will whisk them away.
Force a thumb between the neck and everything attached to it, the crop (in the process pulling it free from the top of the breast meat), the esophagus, and the windpipe. Pull all that free of the neck. Separate the neck skin from the three tube-like elements and reserve it for the stockpot as well. Then pull on the tube-y things and cut them off as close as you can to where they enter the body cavity.
Cutting the neck
Do not leave a “stub” when you cut off the neck, that would leave jagged edges of sheared bone that may poke through your wrapping later. Instead, force the blades of your shears around the neck but well up between the shoulders of the wings. After your cut, the sheared edges will be protected from the wrapping by the shoulders.
Removing the oil gland
If it remains on the carcass, the oil gland (which secretes oil the bird uses in preening its feathers) may affect the flavor of your cooked bird. To remove it, start slightly forward of the little nipple of the gland and simply slice down vertically until hitting bone. Then turn the edge of the blade toward the end of the tail and make a scooping cut to slice off the nipple and the two fatty lobes of the gland beneath. [Note: If you plan not to keep the tail, but to cut it off after evisceration, you do not have to bother with the oil gland.]