Are roosters appx. 13-14 weeks okay in flavor to eat?

Kakaruk

In the Brooder
Feb 18, 2020
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49
43
Ok, so I slaughtered the three roosters yesterday...... what an ordeal! I hadn't slaughtered a chicken in about 15 years and I remember why. I didn't pluck the feathers but just took the whole skin off. Anyway, the girls are very happy and content now, with no boys around!

I've got the 3 in a brine overnight and we've decided to make chicken enchiladas. I'll let you know how it comes out. The actual meat weight so far I have not determined but it seems like each bird is around 2 pounds or less.

Oh, question: the livers, hearts, and gizzard I'm going to use for flavor in cooking. I'll probably eat the livers, they are so good. What about the yellow membrane inside the gizzards? Do I need to peel that off before I saute? Or is it okay to saute them with the yellow membrane?
 

Molpet

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 7, 2015
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My Coop
Ok, so I slaughtered the three roosters yesterday...... what an ordeal! I hadn't slaughtered a chicken in about 15 years and I remember why. I didn't pluck the feathers but just took the whole skin off. Anyway, the girls are very happy and content now, with no boys around!

I've got the 3 in a brine overnight and we've decided to make chicken enchiladas. I'll let you know how it comes out. The actual meat weight so far I have not determined but it seems like each bird is around 2 pounds or less.

Oh, question: the livers, hearts, and gizzard I'm going to use for flavor in cooking. I'll probably eat the livers, they are so good. What about the yellow membrane inside the gizzards? Do I need to peel that off before I saute? Or is it okay to saute them with the yellow membrane?
Remove
 

Kakaruk

In the Brooder
Feb 18, 2020
67
49
43
Ok, thanks ya'll! I did see that video but the issue was I already cut open and cleaned the debris out of the gizzards so I couldn't do the method in the video. However, they were in the fridge over night and I found the yellow membrane peeled off pretty easy anyway.

In the end, this whole thing was partially a waste of time. Yesterday when I had the birds fully dressed and ready to roast, the three chickens were only about 4.5 pounds. After roasting them and removing and 'good' meat I only yielded around a pound of meat. (I don't know exactly because my son and I were eating little bits while I was removing meat. Anyway, in those places where with a broiler you would find good chunks of meat: thighs, legs, even wing and back - there was hardly any useable meat it was tough and stringy.

So the chicken enchiladas were delicious! But the amount of work from slaughtering the roosters, to brining, to roasting, deboneing, then backing enchilladas........ hhmm I'm not sure it was all worth it. At least I got the roosters out of the hen house. The girls seem much more at peace again.
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
Apr 13, 2016
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I would have rested them three days instead of one, that might have been why they were tough. But yeah, you aren't going to get much meat from birds that age unless you've been breeding them with a focus on the carcass quality for awhile.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
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Not sure what breed they were or their age. Age and breed has an effect on size and how much meat you get. Age has an effect on texture and flavor, which has an effect on how you should cook them. The older they are the more you need to use a slower and moister cooking method, baking instead of roasting perhaps. Aging them until rigor mortis has passed can be really important.

Lots of moving parts on this. There are several long threads on here about them all. I'm sure not going to try to cover all of them this morning. Our birds are not the Cornish X meat birds you buy at the store. Many people are disappointed when they see that. As someone on here says that's where romance meets reality. For some of us the reality is worth it, for some it's not.

The way I understand it, you are not raising them to be meat birds, more just trying to use extra cockerels. No you have the experience that gives you one more data point when deciding what to do with your excess cockerels. I consider that a good thing.
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
Apr 13, 2016
2,986
4,770
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North-Central IL
Oh, question: the livers, hearts, and gizzard I'm going to use for flavor in cooking. I'll probably eat the livers, they are so good. What about the yellow membrane inside the gizzards? Do I need to peel that off before I saute? Or is it okay to saute them with the yellow membrane?
As was mentioned, you do want to peel that membrane off.
But what are you going to be doing with the gizzards when you say saute? Are you cooking them in order to make a gravy or stock? Because if you plan to eat them, the way I was told/and have read is that you need to very slowly simmer them for a long time with some carrot/onion/celery/bay leaf. Like a few hours long, because it's the toughest muscle in the bird. At which point you would then slice them somewhat thin, bread, and fry them.
 

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
3,182
4,813
306
USA
The way I do cull cockerels that don't have much meat:

--kill bird
--cut off &discard feet and wings, pull skin off the rest of the carcass
--cut off each leg/thigh piece, and the breast (keep them)
--optional, harvest the heart/liver/gizzard
--optional, discard guts and make broth with the rest of the carcass

So I'm mostly just taking the leg/thigh pieces and the breast, and if those are the only parts I want-- it skips a lot of the usual butchering steps! Sometimes I debone the leg/thigh as well as the breast while they're still on the carcass. In those cases, I don't even open the body cavity at all, unless I want the giblets.

Hearts and gizzards I collect in the freezer until I have enough, then treat like tough beef (stew is good.) They don't really taste like beef, but they do have a different flavor than the normal chicken meat.

Liver is the only thing that seems to stay tender even when the bird is old :)

Over time, I thought about which part gives me the most meat for the least effort, and gradually adapted butchering methods get me that. Plucking and wings were the first things I decided to skip :)
 

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