Homestead Poultry Butchering: Evisceration: 3
Table of Contents
Eggs and fat deposits
If the bird you are butchering is a hen, you may well find inside a number of egg yolks of various sizes, or even a fully developed egg. (The one in the picture is a finished egg ready to be laid, but is still inside the oviduct.) These “unborn eggs”, as Ellen calls them, are a real treat: We add the small yolks to soup or broth just before serving (so they are just warmed through), and use the completed eggs as we do any other eggs.
Especially in a hen (and even more so in hens slaughtered in the fall), you will find a deposit of glistening, yellow fat at the lower end of the body cavity. This fat is easily rendered into high-quality cooking fat. [Simply cut the fat into small pieces and heat in a heavy pan over low flame until the fat liquefies, strain, and store in small jars in refrigerator or freezer.]
Cutting away the entrails
What a neat trick you’ve pulled off! You’ve drawn away all the interior structures without spilling stuff-we-don’t-want-on-our-meat, and now they’re hanging from the vent in one long, intact package. What now to complete the separation? Hang all that ropy stuff to one side of the vent, and position your blade on the other side, between the vent and the sharp point of the pubic bone. Simply slice down until the blade hits bone. Now move the ropy stuff to the side of the vent where you just made your cut, and repeat the cut on the opposite side. Pull on the entrails, and slice under the vent itself, leaving it intact along with its connection to the end of the intestinal tract (the cloaca).
Reach into the cavity one final time and remove the lungs. Again, lead with the fingernails as you follow the curve of the rib cage, finding the seam between rib and lung, and lift the spongy lung tissue free. This step takes some practice, and can be a bit tricky, it’s not unusual for the lungs to shred, and resist coming free easily. Don’t worry, leaving a little lung tissue is no problem. I like to remove them to make a neater carcass.
Give a final rinse, inside and out, and admire the creature who has made so generous a contribution to your homestead, now ready to grace your table. Don’t forget to say “Thank you!”