Ageing processed turkeys

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by tboneranch, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. tboneranch

    tboneranch Out Of The Brooder

    46
    0
    32
    Mar 12, 2009
    How long is best to age Turkeys? Does anyone have some suggestions? I don't really want to brine them because of the added sodium.
     
  2. longranger

    longranger Chillin' With My Peeps

    554
    0
    149
    Apr 23, 2009
    laguna hills CA
    I butcher my own birds so I know if the carcass had any exposure to fecal matter. If it does then I will cook or freeze after 2 or 3 days aging. Others go at least 5 days up to 7. The fridge I use runs between 40 and 45 degrees in the area the carcasses are aged.
     
  3. tboneranch

    tboneranch Out Of The Brooder

    46
    0
    32
    Mar 12, 2009
    Great, thanks! We will be processing our own (and about 49 others!!!!) and have quite a bit of experince with fryers-I assume it's similar but on a larger scale? We are very careful not to open the fecal tube in the chickens. Would you be able to say if turkey and chicken anatomy are similar in that regard?
     
  4. longranger

    longranger Chillin' With My Peeps

    554
    0
    149
    Apr 23, 2009
    laguna hills CA
    The anatomy is essentially identical, just bigger.
     
  5. tboneranch

    tboneranch Out Of The Brooder

    46
    0
    32
    Mar 12, 2009
    That's kind of what I figured-thanks! Do you age them ine water in the fridge? In their bag? In the open air?
     
  6. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

    619
    3
    140
    Apr 5, 2008
    Hastings, Nebraska
    Aging lets the rigormortis leave the muscle tissue, it also lets the muscles tissue break down so it's more tender. Most rigor is gone in 4 hours for poultry after 24 hours it's completely gone and some muscle tissue breakdown starts.

    Generally Ice and plain water is used to keep the meat cooler then the 38 to 40 degrees that most refrigerators keep meat, because the FDA recommends storing poultry at 36 degrees which is lower then most refrigerators will chill. The disadvantage is that you need to completely change the water several times during the resting and aging process.

    Water and brine in the refrigerator is used to preserve the meat some and have some extra muscle tissue break down, this is done 24 to 48 hours. The disadvantage is the extra salt in the meat. Brine can actually speed up the process of rigor leaving the muscles tissue.

    Plain water in the refrigerator keep air from getting to the meat and drying it out. again 24 to 48 hours. But it's a good idea to change the water at least once, more then once is a good idea


    No water and refrigerator, when using this method the meat needs a barrier to keep the air from drying out meat.

    Which method you actually use is up to you they all have some disadvantages and advantages. We use the water and ice method, we freeze water in milk jugs for a couple a weeks before we butcher. We use an old apartment freezer that that is about 4 x 4 x4. since it has no drain in it we have a portable sump pump that remove most of the water.
     
  7. longranger

    longranger Chillin' With My Peeps

    554
    0
    149
    Apr 23, 2009
    laguna hills CA
    The mechanics of how you chill the meat can vary. Many people utilize a large cooler or bin filled with ice water to get an initial chill. That cools the meat down way faster than a fridge. After that I personally age the carcasses in the fridge, usually about 1/2 dozen at a time, in individual trash bags. Those that go to the freezer are transfered to shrink bags from Cornerstone Farm prior to freezing.

    Optimal aging time probably varies with the type and age of the bird. For 6 month to year old heritage birds my limited experience has been that 2 or three days is adequate but 5 to 7 ideal. The longer aging cycle gives a more tender and juicy bird regardless of preparation method. I suspect older turkeys would benefit from the longer aging even more. My fridge starts to cause some freeze if it is set low enough to maintain a temp lower than 40 so I live with 40 to 45 degrees and have had no problems with spoilage.

    My experience with broad breasted turkeys is limited to just a handful but aging beyond a day or 2 seemed unhelpful.
     
  8. Terri O

    Terri O Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for this good information! I am raising my first turkeys this year and do not want them to be inedible as my geese were....bad experiment! Terri O
     
  9. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

    619
    3
    140
    Apr 5, 2008
    Hastings, Nebraska
    As mentioned by longranger, when you butcher also plays in to how long the aging process is.

    A Great white or Big Breasted Bronze is usually done at around 20 weeks, since this is generally considered to be the best feed cost to weight ration. But they can be butchered sooner or later then this. A heritage Turkey is usually done at around 30 weeks.

    The longest we have gone before butchering is a little over a year and yes they tend to be tougher. But we have not tried altering the aging process to see if that helps, but that sounds like it could work.

    Tom
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by