posted by Dave Arnold
Last Saturday I madeÂ myÂ pilgrimage toÂ Manhattan Live PoultryÂ to get this year’s turkey.Â I was extremely happy with the quality of last year’s bird,Â and I like picking out the animal – I can be sure the bird is healthy and the slaughtering is humane.Â The guys aren’t rough with the birds.Â Other than the smell,Â visitingÂ is a pleasant experience.Â Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more difficult to buy live poultry in New York.Â Not that many years ago, live poultry places dotted Â the island of Manhattan.Â Now there are only two, andÂ both of them are way uptown. Sad.
Upon entering MLP I expected to see what I saw last year–standard-breed turkeys and the giant black “wild style” turkeys running around together.Â To my horror they only had the standard breed this year. It was too late to make other arrangements. You should wait two days to cook the bird after it is killed to make sure it goes through rigor mortis — I needed to cook the bird Monday or Tuesday, so it was now or never.
I am a bit of a knotÂ connoisseur.Â This year I noted that the live poultryÂ folks useÂ their own special knotÂ when theyÂ weigh live birds.Â The knot has to go on fast, come off fast, and leave the bird unharmed.Â TheÂ worker holdsÂ the birds by the legs, puts the rope between the legs, quickly wraps the ropeÂ around the legs two times, and thenÂ passes the rope under and between the legs.Â The weight of the bird keeps the knot tight.Â The birds remain calm, thoughÂ they tend to spread out their wings.
I picked out the biggest turkeyÂ they Â had.Â A mere 25 pounds.Â Ridiculously small compared to last year, but a fine bird nonetheless.
They killed it, bled it, scalded it, and plucked it for me in 7 minutes flat.
I rushedÂ the birdÂ back to the FCI and threw it in the blast chiller to cool it down.
Next: the cooking.