When the bird is either plucked or skinned, its time to clean it.
Plop the bird down on a cutting board or clean surface. Cleanliness is especially important if the bird has been skinned. At the base of its neck is the “crop,” a sack where food collects before moving into the gizzard. Tug and stretch until the lower exit pipe is revealed. Cut it off and toss it into a scrap bin.
Changing ends, you’ll find the bird’s breastbone. An inch or so below, cut a horizontal, 3 inch slice through the skin and just into the fats present. Go too far and you may slice into the gizzard! Following the top of the cavity, work your hand up into the incision, loosening innards as you go. Reach up, up, up to the top of the insides and begin working ’em back toward the incision. Pulling ’em out, be certain to cut around the vent, keeping manure confined to the intestine.
Separate the heart, gizzard and liver if desired. If not, toss the innards into the scrap bucket. Remove any “pipes” coming through from the neck. Lungs are found up against the bird’s back and may be left or removed.
Rinse your bird out with cold water and if freezing immediately, move on to singeing hairs. If you have a flock to butcher, I highly recommend rinsing the meat, then having a barrel or cooler-full of cold water to keep cleaned birds in until all your work is completed.
Some birds need it while others don’t. It primarily depends on the time of year butchering takes place (cold temps=hairs). Dry off your butchered birds and look closely to see if there are “hairs” present. Hairs are just that: long, fine, single hairs that poke up all over the skin. While they won’t hurt a human, some find them unattractive when poking up in their dinner! Singeing will remove ’em and make everyone comfortable.
Light a wholesome beeswax or tallow candle (not the typical store bought ones as they are loaded with bad stuff) and bring the bird within 1 inch of the flame. Rotate. Watch hairs singe and curl! Once done, rub hand over the bird’s skin to remove the few clinging-but-singed hairs.
Bag and freeze ’em for Christmas dinner!