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I learned the hard way, you can "rest" meat for tenderness after it's been frozen!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Greetings all, I wanted to pass on my experience.  a couple of weeks ago we harvested our first cornish cross.  I read up on all sorts of things, got a chicken plucker and kill cone from a local lending library, got a propane burner set up for the scalder and prepared my children for their first experience with harvesting their own food.  with all that was involved I failed to read up on resting times.  we threw two of the chickens in the oven right after harvest, thinking they'd be the freshest birds we could possibly get.  much to my despair, the meat was so tough I couldn't barely cut through it.  then I read the next day about what I did wrong, I didn't let it rest, and holy crap, I froze the rest of them immediately... I worried that all my work had been ruined and lives wasted.  fortunately I decided to try and let the birds rest after being thawed the next time we were preparing for a chicken dinner.  we've had two more now and they were great.  I let them thaw out on the counter for a few hours and then in the fridge for 2 days.  it appears that you can "rest" a bird when it thaws.  this will be helpful for those times when I don't have time to let them rest before throwing them in the freezer.  that said, I'm not sure if they were as tender as they would be if they were allowed to rest first, burt they were enjoyable, none the less.  does anyone know if they become as tender if done this way?


Edited by Birdinhand - 5/27/16 at 10:22am
post #2 of 4
This is good to know, thank you.

I just recieved the shrink bags and labels I ordered, my birds will be ready in a couple more weeks. I am wanting to know if I can just put the freshly processed birds in their shrink bags and then freeze directly? Or is it better to rest them first? Fridge space could be an issue for resting all of them before packaging.
Edited by ShannonR - 5/27/16 at 5:09pm
post #3 of 4
Yes, i frequently bag chickens etc and freeze same day. (Do this BEFORE they get fully stiff, however, or bagging and fitting into a freezer becomes much more awkward!) Fridge space is often an issue, as is just wanting to get it over and done with. It may be "better" to rest first, but we too are perfectly happy with the results of letting them "rest" during/after thawing. Some softening or whatever you call it occurs in deep freeze too if frozen for a while. The main thing to pay attention to is that the period of rigor mortis has passed, which you can easily tell when handling the carcass--if the meat and joints have loosened up and no longer feel stiff and rigid, youre good to go.

(interesting note: some people, hunters for example, actually see the rigor as a positive sign--as in "look, this pheasant so fresh its still stiff!" Most people however, or at least those with access to refrigeration, seem to prefer the post-rigor texture when it comes to preparing and eating meat...) smile.png
Edited by triplepurpose - 5/28/16 at 7:27pm
Chickens are the Swiss Army knife of farm animals
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Chickens are the Swiss Army knife of farm animals
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post #4 of 4
Cool, thank you! That's exactly what I needed to know,
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BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Meat Birds ETC › I learned the hard way, you can "rest" meat for tenderness after it's been frozen!