Chronicles of Raising Meat Birds - Modern Broilers, Heritage and Hybrids

Molpet

Crossing the Road
Premium member
Sep 7, 2015
8,385
31,892
922
New Lenox township. Illinois USA
My Coop
My Coop
The big Ziplocs are 2 gallons. If you're lucky, you'll find them at Wal-Mart sometimes. I'll snag them there when I can, otherwise I order a couple boxes from Amazon when I'm running low and ordering something else. They come in really handy! I use them when I'm resting carcasses in the fridge, I can get two small cockerels in one, or a bigger bird alone. The bigger birds don't fit into a 1 gallon zip bag well at all.
I have a 12 lb turkey in one of those right now... just barely zips shut


When learning about brining, I was shown a 3 gallon crock. Ceramic, wide mouth jar. Think moonshine bottle without the small top. These were used for pickling meats in brine. The ceramic is acid and salt resistant. Cast iron or other dutch ovens wouldn't hold up. The ceramic coated dutch ovens might work.

The meat goes into this and a plate is inverted on top and holds the meat below the surface. Whole thing goes into the fridge to hold temperature. Since I don't have a 3 gallon crock, I've used plastic (2 gallon) bowls with a plate over the meat holding it below the brine surface. Works OK, but the bowl is a lot shallower than the 3 gallon crock. Be sure to get all the air out from under the plate. Submerge the plate, then work out all the air.

Large ziploc bags sound easier. Mine usually leak. Sharp bone or caught on whatever pokes a hole. Do you put the ziploc in a bowl?
my uncle brined meat in one of those crocks.. it was his wine making crock and when he used it for wine again, the wine soured.. no amount of cleaning made it useable for wine again
 

Morrigan

Free Ranging
5 Years
Apr 9, 2014
2,788
11,308
632
N. California
Today I butchered my first heritage bird experiment, a 16 week old Naked Neck/Lavender Orpington rooster, along with a 16 week old Red Ranger hen. The rooster looked and felt so small next to the RR, but it dressed out at 3 lbs, 10 oz., which I thought was a pretty decent size for a 16 week old heritage bird. The RR hen was 6 lbs, 5 oz. Below is a picture taken before I bagged them up to put in the fridge to rest -- RR on the left, NN/LO on the right. I also collected a lot of fat off the RR hen, that I need to cook out into schmalz today. I wish I had thought to take of picture of these two yesterday to show their live weight size.

IMG_2618.JPG

I pleased with the overall size of the NN/LO but very little breast meat. Next up -- as soon as the egg laying ramps up a bit -- is to cross the NN with a Rock, a Maran and a Slow White Broiler -- to see how those come up.

Edited: Switched it say that the RR is on the LEFT and NN/LO on the RIGHT. I just realized that when I flipped the picture around to post, it reversed it from how I had the birds laid out on the counter
 
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aliciaplus3

Crowing
Oct 24, 2016
2,494
8,287
482
Colorado
Today I butchered my first heritage bird experiment, a 16 week old Naked Neck/Lavender Orpington rooster, along with a 16 week old Red Ranger hen. The rooster looked and felt so small next to the RR, but it dressed out at 3 lbs, 10 oz., which I thought was a pretty decent size for a 16 week old heritage bird. The RR hen was 6 lbs, 5 oz. Below is a picture taken before I bagged them up to put in the fridge to rest -- RR on the right, NN/LO on the left. I also collected a lot of fat off the RR hen, that I need to cook out into schmalz today. I wish I had thought to take of picture of these two yesterday to show their live weight size.

View attachment 2014711
I pleased with the overall size of the NN/LO but very little breast meat. Next up -- as soon as the egg laying ramps up a bit -- is to cross the NN with a Rock, a Maran and a Slow White Broiler -- to see how those come up.
those pics make them look very similar in size. yeah the difference in breast meat is a big part of the size difference.
 

Morrigan

Free Ranging
5 Years
Apr 9, 2014
2,788
11,308
632
N. California
Their legs were pretty close in size, but its the huge breast and thighs on the NN that really make up the weight difference. We also took off at least a pound of fat off the RR -- she didn't miss many meals, that's for sure.
 

jolenesdad

Free Ranging
Premium member
Apr 12, 2015
2,377
9,045
562
Montgomery, TX
My imperials are pretty fatty. I pressure cooked one and removed well over a cup of solid fat. Their backs and thighs have a very thick layer of fat. Moyers told me that this is from the 12th and 13th week of growth... I don’t mind it but would like to figure out the best way of using it. In roasting, it has to be a part of what gives these birds the best flavor of what I have grown this year.

I’ve got another batch of 50 and I am dealing with a coccidiosis outbreak. I’ll do an update on them this week and the treatment and results. :barnie
This gigantic bird is the one rooster I had. You can see how the fat distribution is different on the breast and the females have significantly more. I’ll take some pictures of the back and thighs sometime too.

also here is a breast set. Really nice meat all around on these birds.

E83D2BB8-D7FC-48A2-B6A2-74DCA0346EAE.jpeg

Male, 7 lbs dressed
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female 4.5 lbs dressed
D640FD02-C163-4F70-B493-F402065A89D9.jpeg
 

Morrigan

Free Ranging
5 Years
Apr 9, 2014
2,788
11,308
632
N. California
I don’t mind it but would like to figure out the best way of using it.
My very favorite use for chicken fat is for roasting or frying potatoes. In the morning I often cube up and par-boil some potatoes, drain and then pan fry them in the fat with onions and peppers. But, I also I also toss brussels sprouts or carrots in fat and oven roast those for about 30 minutes. Basically, I use it as I would oil.
 
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