Skinning a Chicken

Is way harder than you think it would be your first time.

A friend and co-worker of mine gave me a year old rooster when I mentioned that I’d like to make “coq a vin” with an authentic “coq” and she had an aggressive rooster that she wouldn’t mind sending to the oven. Since I’m not a fan of chicken skin, and I think scalding or plucking is a huge waste of time, I decided to skin the rooster.

It’s been a while since I slaughtered an animal (last time was a goat), so I re-learned a few things.

1, a good boning knife is a very important tool to have for a small animal. Big game like goats, deer, elk, can be initially processed with relatively large hunting/butchering knives. Smaller animals like roosters, other domestic fowl, cannot.

2, lots of running water to clear away the processing area is a great asset to have. Letting my nine year old control the water pressure was probably not smartest plan I’ve ever had.

3, skinning a chicken really is the fastest way to process a bird into meat, at least without investing money in the very specific tools needed to pluck lots of chickens fast. You really do need too adults, or fashion a bird holding tool, to really take advantage of it.

4, skills that aren’t used, atrophy. Processing a farm animal every couple of years seems to be enough that I can muddle my way through the job, but I should probably do this particular chore more often so that I have the best tools on hand, a decent setup, and can efficiently do the job.

None of those things should be shockers to any of my regular readers (both of you), but I think it is still worth sharing. We tossed the meat into the freezer so that the formation of ice crystals will help tear down cell walls and tenderize the meat. I’ll also let the meat marinate for a day in some cheap South American Malbec or Zinfandel just to make the French cuisine purists have a case of the vapors.

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