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Aging or flash freeze

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by the simple life, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. There is a processor in my area that will process, bag and then give you back the chicken for you to age and freeze or he will process, bag it and flash freeze it for you but it is not aged before freezing.
    I know there is the option to brine or not to but what about the aging thing?
    Obviously it would be easier to pick up chicken already frozen and ready to go but not at the expense of ruining the flavor or texture of the meat.
    What is the concensus on this?

  2. Burbs

    Burbs Songster

    May 29, 2009
    South East Idaho
    You need to let the rigor mortis run its course before freezing. Either that or let it rest in the fridge when you thaw for a couple of days. Otherwise it will be one tough bird.
  3. I realize that it has to run its course but am wondering from the way he talked and from some of the posts here if its only a matter of a couple of hours before its done and okay to freeze but better if you can wait a couple of days.
    I just came across a post here that says rigor mortis passes in an hour or so.
    Not sure if that is correct.
    I am going to just take the birds home and rest and freeze them myself but am curious about how the other option would work, how much worse the meat would be and why he would offer it if its not going to be good.
  4. jaku

    jaku Songster

    You're better off waiting at least 24 hours before eating or freezing. I wait 48, some go up to a week. There are a lot of factors that go into the length of time it takes rigor to run it's course, in both the starting of rigor, to the total relaxing. Better to be sure.
  5. Thats what I figure, I don't want to put all the time and money into them and then blow it in the end.
    Thanks guys.[​IMG]
  6. longranger

    longranger Songster

    Apr 23, 2009
    laguna hills CA
    Variation on that question can you effectively brine the bird during the Rigor Mortis or should you wait until the meat is relaxed?
  7. pdpatch

    pdpatch Songster

    Apr 5, 2008
    Hastings, Nebraska
    Quote:Yes you can brine and age at the same time.


  8. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Songster

    Apr 29, 2007
    Here is a post from a few months ago that I was explaining to someone.

    (at least 4 hours for aging)

    It's chilled first in an ice bath for only about an hour... this mainly is used to get the temperature down fast to deter bacteria growth.

    After the carcass cools, it is placed into a fridge or walk in cooler and "aged" for 2-3 days. This allows the muscles to relax and "settle down". The muscle is still "alive" after it is dead, I'm not sure the exact words to describe it but have you ever noticed after killing a bird the muscles will sometimes twitch like being electricuted.... even about 5 minutes after they die. Well this still happens hours after death inside the meat, it starts to taper at about 4 hours.

    The reason for this is that when an animal is killed there is still a significant amount of chemical energy in muscle cells. If the meat is immediately cut, cooked, or frozen, the muscles are stimulated and contract similar to what happens with a nerve impulse.

    So in reality you only need to age for about 8 hours to let the muscles relax but, up until that point the muscles are tight.... think of it like stretching out a bungie cord.... The muscles are like that... when they "age" this allows those muscles to relax and go limp (tender). It's a process called cell muscle energy depletion.

    You don't want to cook or freeze a bird until it has had at least 8 hours of "relax" or "aging" time.... otherwise the meat will be tough. It's hard to understand, I don't know if I explained it good enough.... Sorry if I confused you more than I helped you.
  9. jaku

    jaku Songster

    I will add that you CAN cut up a bird immediately after killing it. Some of my customers want their birds cut up, rather than whole, so I just fillet them out immediately after killing and bleeding. There is no difference in taste or texture, however, due to the process Jeff explained very well, you get cuts that are less "pretty." If you don't care about that, or don't have the extra space, cut them up right away. They still need to be aged just like whole birds before freezing or eating. I remember once I shot a turkey and immediately breasted it out and threw it on the grill. High, fast heat, combined with rigor- it was literally like eating rubber.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
  10. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    BTW, young, tender meat birds, (broilers) don't need to be brined at all. Just rest them a day or so (over 8 hours, min.) and they'll be tender and nice. Brining's usually done with older, tougher birds, to help retain moisture in the meat during long, slow cooking required to make them tender.

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