Monday, August 31, 2009

Bad-ass chicken-killing mofo

I thought about titling this post "Severed Cocks", but I figure I already pushed the SFW-ness of my blog a bit far in my post on the sexy side of Sharia law. Oh well.

Anyway, yesterday I was lucky to have the opportunity to participate in killing and preparing five roosters. This is something I've really wanted to do, for a few reasons. One is my obsession with doing things from scratch, or as much from scratch as is practical. The other is that I feel it is ethically desirable for meat-eaters to participate fully in the process at least once, preferably more than that -- otherwise, one is open to the criticism of farming the dirty work out to others.

Our friend Christal and Mick have a bunch of chickens they use for eggs, but they haven't been doing it for long and discovered they bought too many roosters. The hens were getting basically gang-raped, and a lot of them were getting their feathers pecked out by overly aggressive cocks. So it was time to cull some roosters. Five of them to be exact.

I helped to catch them and held three of them down while they got the ax. I had originally planned on trying the choppy-choppy myself at least once, but we were having some issues with the log bouncing around when struck, and my ax skills are poor enough that I was confident neither of preserving Christal and Mick's fingers, nor of putting the chickens out of their misery in a timely manner. Still, it was less gruesome than I anticipated, and definitely less depressing than the time I had to club a baby squirrel to death after my dogs got to it but failed to finish it off.

I then helped pluck them, which was a bit tedious, but not as bad as everybody makes it out to be. I didn't participate in the cleaning other than to watch, mostly because I know my clumsy ass self would probably rip open an intestine and make a big mess out of everything. Still, it was extremely educational and a great experience.

Christal and Mick were very generous in letting us take home three of the birds for ourselves. They are in my fridge right now, with two of them bound for the freezer and the third destined to become coq au vin either tonight or tomorrow. I'm particularly excited about doing t hat, because the whole origin of coq au vin is to make the best out of an old rooster, which tends to be tougher and gamier than young birds. But braising turns this into an advantage, because extra collagen breaks down and becomes totally freakin' delicious. Even better to braise in wine!

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