5 months - how to cook?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by cottontail farm, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. cottontail farm

    cottontail farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    170
    20
    81
    Dec 26, 2014
    Rural NW Pa
    I have an aggressive rooster cooling his spurs in my refrigerator who was exactly 5 months old. He was a mixed breed. I don't think I've ever killed a chicken at this age. Can I still make fried chicken or was he "old" enough that I'm looking at a crock pot?
     
  2. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    2,151
    364
    196
    Feb 15, 2017
    Texas
    My grandpa always said, the meaner the rooster the Tougher the meat.
     
  3. phalenbeck

    phalenbeck Chillin' With My Peeps

    340
    6
    131
    Aug 14, 2008
    Canton, N.C.
    No problem at 5 months. I am eating my 6 month dark Cornish--excellent
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,959
    3,125
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Fried or grilled? No, he’s too old as far as I’m concerned. Different people have different tolerances as far as taste and texture, but very few would be OK with a five month old cockerel fried or grilled.

    That doesn’t mean you are all the way to crock pot required, although crock pot, stewed, or Coq au Vin would work. Chicken and dumplings would be good. You have a lot of options.

    The way I cook one of those is to roast it in a covered pan. I cut it into serving pieces and rinse it off, but do not dry it, leave the water on it. Put it into a covered baking or roasting pan that holds in the moisture well. I use one of those ceramic coated cast iron pans. Coat it with herbs or maybe some spices, I generally use basil and oregano but I grow my own and have quarts of that stuff so I use it. Just flavor it the way you want. Then cook it covered in the oven for about 3 to 3-1/2 hours at 250 degrees. Yes 250, not higher, that’s not a typo. When it comes out you should have some very tender flavorful meat and maybe ¼ to ½ cup of fabulous broth.
     
  5. cottontail farm

    cottontail farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    170
    20
    81
    Dec 26, 2014
    Rural NW Pa
    Ridgerunner, do you think I could spatch cock it and cook the bird that way? Or would you recommend taking the breastmeat off the bone etc?
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,959
    3,125
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I don’t know what you mean by “spatch cock it and cook the bird that way”. I cut it into serving pieces with the bone intact and cook it that way. The bones are what makes the broth so good.
     
  7. Maeschak

    Maeschak Chillin' With My Peeps

    324
    61
    111
    Mar 29, 2016
    Maryland, USA
    I have fairly limited experience but in the experience I do have, 5 months is too old for a high heat method of cooking. I have eaten 5 month olds roasted SUPER low in a tight fitting roaster pan (whole and parted- taking several hours). While I liked the bird that way, none of my friends did because the meat is much firmer than you buy at the store. (Think sturdy knife to cut the leg meat off).

    I would suggest crock potting it or something similar, but remember- do not let the water/fluid get above 180 degrees or so. I read that once the water/fluid gets above 180 degrees, the heat contracts the muscle tissue and breaks the muscle cell walls, which does two things: (1) toughens/tightens the meat and (2) expels all the moisture out of the muscle tissue... so your bird will be tough and dry no matter how long it is cooked in fluids if cooked at too high of a temperature. (This is why pot roast can sometimes seem/feel very dry even though it has cooked all day in fluids - bc the temp got too high at some point. Once the heat gets too high the tissue tightening and fluid expulsion can never be reversed). It is also good to note that the reason 'tough' meats tenderize from very long and low cooking is that there is enough connective tissue etc in the muscles that the long cooking time gelatinizes the connective tissue. The gelatinization 'adds' moisture to the muscle tissue. So cuts without much connective tissue or intramuscular fat wont really get more tender from longer cooking.

    This is just my experience, hope it helps.
     
  8. Gray Farms

    Gray Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,368
    617
    199
    Apr 11, 2016
    NW Missouri
    Oven, crockpot, or smoker. To old for frying, it'll get tough. 3.5-4 months is typically the max for fryers I've found.
     
  9. Maeschak

    Maeschak Chillin' With My Peeps

    324
    61
    111
    Mar 29, 2016
    Maryland, USA
    Sorry! I mis-spoke. At about 170 degrees the meat begins to tighten and gets unpleasant at about 185 degrees, so you should shoot for about 175.

    Here is a good article: http://www.kitchensavvy.com/journal/2006/02/meat_dries_out_.html
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,522
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I eat birds this age and older. I agree, too old to fry or grill.

    Crockpot is good. You have lot of seasoning options. Cook until it falls off the bone. Use meat for any casserole, enchilada, chicken salad, etc.

    Coq au vin, or anything braised should be good.

    Slow roasted like RR said.

    Important to let the meat rest for a few days first, 48 hours minimum. I've started brining mine during that time. Not sure if it makes that much difference, but it doesn't hurt anything.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by