It’s true: pastured poultry is more expensive than chicken from the grocery store. Which is why I’ve developed my pastured poultry system to use up every last bit of that real chicken goodness!
By the way, this is why we stopped buying chicken at the grocery store.
Yankee Homestead Pastured Poultry
Just a few days ago we processed this year’s first batch of chickens. 57 chickens, to be exact. Over the next few days, we had the fun of physically placing 34 of those chickens into the hands of friends, people we know personally. We kept 23 chickens in the freezer to feed our own family.
Every Yankee Homestead chicken patron also receives our family’s favorite recipes for preparing a whole chicken, along with my pastured poultry system. It’s especially fun to share the system with those who are new to the idea of starting with a whole bird.
Today I’m excited to share with you how to stretch a pastured chicken as far as it can possibly go!
More from the meat bird archives:
- How to Raise Pastured Poultry, Part 1: DIY Brooder Pen
- How to Raise Pastured Poultry, Part 2: DIY Chicken Tractor
- The Real Cost of Raising Meat Birds: Year One
- The Real Cost of Raising Meat Birds: Year Two
- Our Big Meat Bird Mistake: How We Accidentally Killed 35 Chickens
My Pastured Poultry System: How to Use Up Every Last Bit
Let’s talk about how to use up every last bit of your whole pastured poultry. These are the basic steps I follow every single time I cook a whole pastured chicken.
Note that I often cook two chickens at once in order to have plenty of leftover meat and plenty of bones to make broth.
Day 1: thaw
- Thaw two chickens overnight.
Day 2: cook, eat, & start broth
- Cook two chickens in the crock pot with this recipe.
- Eat chicken & veggies for dinner.
- After dinner, start broth in one crock pot with this recipe.
- Store leftover chicken meat in the fridge.
Day 3: make soup, freeze broth, start batch #2
- Strain broth.
- Use broth and leftover chicken to make Chicken Tortilla Soup.
- Freeze any remaining broth (first batch).
- freeze in glass jars for long term storage
- freeze some broth in ice cube trays or muffin tins, then store in freezer bags for reheating leftovers, adding to recipes, or sipping to support the immune system
- Start second batch of broth.
Day 4: eat leftovers, freeze broth, start batch #3
- Use any remaining chicken for
- Strain and freeze second batch of broth.
- If desired, start third batch of broth.
Day 5: freeze broth, compost remains
- Strain and freeze third batch of broth.
- Compost broth/chicken remains or feed it to the chickens or other livestock.
There you have it! Nothing is wasted. My pastured poultry system ensures that every last bit of the chicken: meat, bones, skin, and even the feet, is put to use.
Kathleen Henderson is the yankee behind the homestead. Follow along as we grow real food and three boys while renovating a 20-acre farm in northern Virginia. Do you love homegrown food, Paleo-ish recipes, and natural living? You’re in good company! Let’s grow together…