Best age to cull for meat?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by cookiesdaddy, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. cookiesdaddy

    cookiesdaddy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2007
    California Bay Area
    It's my first year raising quail for eggs and meat. Few days ago I culled some quail that were about 6 months old. I felt that the meat were a bit chewy and had a faint odor. I'm not sure if it was the way I cooked it (might have overcooked on the grill) or was it because these were too old for meat. I had quail that were 2-3 months before and they were delicious. Would appreciate some insight. Thanks.
     
  2. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    I don't have experience with quail, but I think the same principle applies to them as to chickens, although possibly with a slightly shorter timeframe. Most commercial productions slaughter pretty young, anything from 4 to 12 weeks. Then you get pretty bland chicken, but it can be cooked pretty quickly. With older birds, you need to bring the cooking time up and temperature down. The grill, especially with direct heat, probably cooked your birds too quickly. You might want to cook them in either a pot, or in the oven on low heat.

    I might add, that the older you butcher, the more taste the meat will have.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014
  3. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    So for uniform carcass size Robby at JMF suggests processing at 6 weeks.

    The top of the growth curve for coturnix is 8 weeks. This the point they have gained as much weight as is fiscally practical. After this point you are feeding them more dollars than what they will gain in edible meat.

    I personally go for 10-12 weeks when I have the time and space. This lets the birds reach their "true" full size, and allows them to put on some fat.

    Older coturnix usually taste close in flavor to younger ones with maybe a little difference in the tenderness of flesh.

    I either braise them or grill them when I cook coturnix. Braising is much more time consuming but worth all the effort. You'll need a cast iron skillet with a cast iron lid to braise quail though. You'll start out cooking a wine sauce and once it's properly reduced you put the quail in to sort of sear on either side. After a few minutes cooking in the sauce you place the lid on the skillet and bake it in the oven for about 15 minutes. The first recipe here is one I've tried and like the second is one I've wanted to try for some time now.

    http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/laura-calder/braised-quails-with-wild-mushrooms.html

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/...bacon-braised-quail-with-crostini-recipe.html

    When I grill them since they are skinless I toss them lightly in olive oil first so they don't stick to the grill. They cook really quickly over a bbq. Less than 15 minutes usually.
     
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  4. cookiesdaddy

    cookiesdaddy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2007
    California Bay Area
    Thank you for your input. Yeah I think my grill was too hot at the time so the meat got cooked (and hardened) too quickly. There was a faint odor though, the smell of the quail cage. I do clean it often, twice a week, and they do have dust bath. I think I just need to process them sooner, not allowing time for the cage odor to penetrate into the meat.
     
  5. dc3085

    dc3085 Chillin' With My Peeps

    That's an odd one. I haven't ever really experienced that but I do notice that animals often taste much like the things they find to eat in their environment. As a kid I lived near the timberline so when we hunted squirrels to eat we went down to lower elevations to get squirrels that lived on the acorns vs the ones that lived in the pines. Squirrels from the pines taste the way cat pee smells from consuming so many pinenuts and pine cones. Whereas acorn fed squirrels have no ill flavor. I've never experienced any negative taste to quail meat because of environment but it is very possible.
     

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