This weekend we processed the rest of our turkeys. We had some wonderful friends offer to come help! I’m so grateful! With 6 of us working, the job was done in no time.
We used a galvanized garbage can as the dunk tank. I heated several large pots of water on top of my stove and when they were just about boiling and we were ready to start, we brought them out and dumped the water in the garbage can. I tied a candy thermometer to a string and tied the string to the handle of the garbage can so I could check the temperature of the water. This worked very well for us. We had to add a couple more pots of boiling water near the end but otherwise it seemed to stay hot enough.
We didn’t use the plucker for the turkeys like we did for the chickens because they were too big. When we put the turkey on the plucker, which took 2 people to do anyway, it would stop turning because it was too heavy! We found them just as easy to pluck by hand, much easier than chickens. Once we were done plucking and eviscerating (I’d like to report that I have learned to clean a gizzard!), we put the turkeys in large plastic garbage cans filled with cold water. I left them there for several hours to make sure they were chilled to the core. Then we bagged the giblets and put them inside the turkeys and bagged the turkeys. We left them inside the garage for the night to chill. The temperature was just above freezing so it was as cold as a refrigerator.
Today I shuffled things around in my deep freezer and was able to fit 5 of them in. One, I decided to keep in the fridge and cook this week. How often do we get fresh turkey? We aren’t sick of turkey from Thanksgiving yet. I have so much planned for this one bird, it will feed us for several meals. They all dressed out around 24 lbs!
If you’ve been keeping track, you will know that I started with 10 turkey poults in the spring. I lost one early on. We had one for Thanksgiving, one I sold to my neighbour and one we gave to the friends that helped us butcher. Our friends didn’t want to accept but hubby and I were so grateful, we could not take ‘no’ for an answer. 😉
I really enjoyed raising the turkeys, they are interesting birds. I don’t think we’ll have a problem eating this much meat, though I think I’ll butcher a little sooner next time so they aren’t all quite so big! I’d like to do it again next year.