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Are all homegrown chickens rubbery?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I raised some cornish cross chickens last year and don't think I want to butcher my old layers because the meat birds were very rubbery and tough (butchered at 11 weeks old).  Did I do something wrong when processing them?  Or was it the breed?  Thanks so much!

2 kids (ages 17 and 13), 1 husband, 2 Border Collies, 1 cat, 2 alpacas, many african cichlids, many chickens (Araucana adults and 27 new chicks - golden laced polish, Japanese bantams, Delaware, silver laced wandocotts, cockoo maran, and more)
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2 kids (ages 17 and 13), 1 husband, 2 Border Collies, 1 cat, 2 alpacas, many african cichlids, many chickens (Araucana adults and 27 new chicks - golden laced polish, Japanese bantams, Delaware, silver laced wandocotts, cockoo maran, and more)
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post #2 of 11

I'm pretty sure you waited too long.  Cornish crosses are normally processed at 7 weeks then brined for 24 Hours before cooking or freezing.

I still breed Sicilian Buttercups, and Coturnix quail - As Big As You Can Get Them.  No, I stilll don't sell eggs or birds.
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I still breed Sicilian Buttercups, and Coturnix quail - As Big As You Can Get Them.  No, I stilll don't sell eggs or birds.
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post #3 of 11

Folks normally let the meat "rest" in the fridge for 24-48 hours before freezing.  You don't have to soak or brine unless you want a pale and watery meat like the stores, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of raising your own.  Just chilling the meat in your fridge seems to do the trick. 

Eleven weeks is not too old, typically dual purpose breed roos are butchered around the 12 wk age and they seem just fine.  A CX chicken would definitely be less tough than a regular roo of the same age, so I'm thinking you didn't rest the muscle fibers enough before freezing.

Keep in mind that store bought chicken meat is processed differently and in such a way as to promote maximum tenderness.  Home grown chicken, though not rubbery, is a little more chewy than commercial chicken.  It takes a slower cook time also.  If you are still getting rubbery meat, you can marinade before cooking.

The only time I've ever had rubbery homegrown chicken was when I cooked an older hen in the slow cooker...dry and tough!!  Never did that again!  When I had an older bird thereafter, I either cooked her down for making soup or marinated in red wine vinegar and spices and grilled to perfection.  This really works! 

Good luck! smile

post #4 of 11

I recently found out that commercially raised birds may be as young as 5 weeks, but usually 6 weeks, old when they are processed. This makes a difference in tenderness, but it also makes for a more bland tasting chicken. Home raised broiler  varieties (as opposed to dual purpose breeds) are usually grown out to 7 or 8 weeks, but it's not unusual for folks to raise them longer, for big roasters.

Last week we butchered some that are around 14 weeks old, and after resting in the fridge for a few days, I fried one up. I had to fry at a lower temp, for longer than with a younger bird. It was a little on the chewy side, but not what I'd call tough or rubbery. Nonetheless, the few that are still alive, to be processed as soon as we can get to them, will be labeled "roaster", and I'll slow roast them.

Aging them a few days in the fridge makes a big difference, and BK is right, you don't need to brine or soak them. I prop mine up tail-end down so the fluids will drain out of the carcasses. I cover the pan I age them in, so the skin doesn't dry out, but a considerable amount of fluid drains out.

Jenny-the-Bear (grrr)
Do not meddle with the forces of nature, for you are small, insignificant, and biodegradable.
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Jenny-the-Bear (grrr)
Do not meddle with the forces of nature, for you are small, insignificant, and biodegradable.
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post #5 of 11

So whats a person to do that has 100 birds? My fridge is just not that big.... any suggestions. Im just learning about this part of the processing of the birds.

EVER CHANGING since we foster... as of April 2011, 1 cat, 2 goats, 2 Donkeys, 23 angus cows, a sweet Papillion. 1200 Cornish this upcoming year, registered Red Angus Bull and baby calves hitting the ground weekly.
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EVER CHANGING since we foster... as of April 2011, 1 cat, 2 goats, 2 Donkeys, 23 angus cows, a sweet Papillion. 1200 Cornish this upcoming year, registered Red Angus Bull and baby calves hitting the ground weekly.
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post #6 of 11

For 100 birds unless you are procrssing them to sell, I would do a few at a time. We only do 20 to 25 at a time. And some birds I leave to grow bigger and pressure cook them, my family loves chicken and dumplings with a bunch of meat. D

Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Bird License

Texas Pullorum-Typhoid tested

I'm taking a BIG break this year.  Offering only LF Frizzle EE's, Naked Necks, Frizzled Naked Necks and Tolbunts/

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Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Bird License

Texas Pullorum-Typhoid tested

I'm taking a BIG break this year.  Offering only LF Frizzle EE's, Naked Necks, Frizzled Naked Necks and Tolbunts/

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post #7 of 11

I'm sure someone will disagree, but.  When doing a even few birds at a time, I sometimes don't have room to BRINE my birds either, not with all those eggs in there.  I do like Mom and Grandma did and freeze them.  When you want chicken, defrost, let rest (normally called Marinate in my family) for a day or more.  When I do this, I mark the age of the bird on the package, so when I marinate I know how long to do it.  I usually marinate for 2-3 days for a very flavorful bird, marinating either before or after I freeze.  I do Brine, to release all Blood from the bird, drain, and mix up my Marinades right into the freezer bag.  When I want hicken, I just decide whih flavor I want.  When I am out of something, like sausage right now, I plan for the next processing day. 

My husband is a finatic about dark on his white meat, so I brine (salt water).  He has sent more chicken back at restaurants than he has eaten.

Normally though, I butcher a few at a time, brine, drain, put in a marinate and freeze while we eat one or two of the birds the next day.  I do not raise Cornish X as I will not eat a bird overbred to have heart attacks.  I just don't feel they are fit for human consumption, my personnal opinion.  Besides, I like a bird that has flavor and I don't think they do, no matter what you do to them.  They just don't taste like chicken of years ago.  And yes I've been around more than a few decades, prior to commercial chickens.

I still breed Sicilian Buttercups, and Coturnix quail - As Big As You Can Get Them.  No, I stilll don't sell eggs or birds.
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I still breed Sicilian Buttercups, and Coturnix quail - As Big As You Can Get Them.  No, I stilll don't sell eggs or birds.
Reply
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the tips on resting, brining, marinading, and processing.  I don't think I'll raise the cornish crosses again either.  It is an abomination of nature to have them grow so fast that they break legs and can't walk to get water.  Tried to be more humane and let them roam but they couldn't.  Again, thanks!

2 kids (ages 17 and 13), 1 husband, 2 Border Collies, 1 cat, 2 alpacas, many african cichlids, many chickens (Araucana adults and 27 new chicks - golden laced polish, Japanese bantams, Delaware, silver laced wandocotts, cockoo maran, and more)
Reply
2 kids (ages 17 and 13), 1 husband, 2 Border Collies, 1 cat, 2 alpacas, many african cichlids, many chickens (Araucana adults and 27 new chicks - golden laced polish, Japanese bantams, Delaware, silver laced wandocotts, cockoo maran, and more)
Reply
post #9 of 11

We sometimes.process our Cornish X at 10 to 12 weeks.  They are never tough or rubbery.  We do not brine but we do let them rest in the fridge.

The obscure we understand eventually. 
The obvious takes a little longer.
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The obscure we understand eventually. 
The obvious takes a little longer.
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post #10 of 11

The longest I have grown Cornish X is 8 weeks and usually the largest are 7lb roasters with the smallest being about 4-l/2lbs.  We have the Amish butcher them but when I bring them home I rewash each one in cold water, take out the kidneys along the backbone (that dark mushy organ no one seems to remove, but really bothers me) then while damp from rinsing I put them in a plastic bag to rest in the fridge for 24 hours before vacuum sealing in individual plastic bags. I am fortunate to have an extra fridge in the garage that we don't use so I plug it in and can use the whole thing for chilling birds if I have more than will fit in my regular fridge.  When I thaw a chicken I always place it in a deep pot with cold salted water - something my German mother-in-law taught me.  Think it helps with bacteria as well as drawing out all the blood so the flesh is nice and white.  I have NEVER had a Cornish X that was tough or rubbery but I did have a Pekin duck that was and I forgot to let it rest 24hours so that may be the key.

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