Dark Meat?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by booker81, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    My search brain isn't working [​IMG]

    I'm a dark meat eater, and from the roos I've eaten, I've been very happy with how gorgeously dark the legs and thighs were. I have some CX chickens I purchased from a person who grew them free range and "happy", but they still don't have that dark meat, it's just like breast meat with a tint.

    What all makes a good dark meat? Time? Breed? Stupid knee kiboshed my plans of getting chicks to put in the garden this fall (it's going to get too cold too soon), but I have the spring. I'm wavering on CX for the short time, something like FR, or just going the same way I've done here with the bad roos, getting some DP boys and raising them to 15-20 weeks (with just three of us, a 3.5-4lb bird is fine and dandy).

    What is the dark meat like on Freedom Rangers?

    Is dark meat dependent on age more than breed?

    What DP breeds dress out well with good meaty legs at 15-20 weeks, other than the RIR and SLW I've processed?

    [​IMG]
     

  2. CityChicker

    CityChicker Songster

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    Hmm... good questions. I would love to know as well. I have been craving dark meat as well something fierce, like braised Turkey leg. [​IMG]

    I have never seen age of the birds affect meat color. Maybe other people can elaborate if they have. In my experience though, the meat of older birds is generally just tougher, not darker. If you are really a fan of the taste of dark meat, you might check into other types of poultry. We raise ducks for example and they typically have a darker meat that is richer and fattier in taste. You might like that or another variety of poultry. I really *love* the dark meat of turkey as well.

    It all just depends. We have raised so many different types of chickens for meat other than the typical Cornish X and I can't honestly say that I have noticed any one breed having more dark meat than any other. Of course, that could be just the breeds of chickens we have raised or that I just haven't paid attention to that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  3. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Songster

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    Buff Orpingtons have the darkest dark meat of all the DP's I have eaten:

    [​IMG]

    I believe this rooster was processed at 22 weeks. It was the best chicken I have ever eaten(sweet potatoes where good as well)!
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  4. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    Quote:NOM NOM NOM....

    That leg is beautiful!!!
     

  5. scubaforlife

    scubaforlife Songster

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    Freedom rangers have a fair amount of dark meat in comparison to CX (the least amount). I wouldn't say they are the highest dark meat content, but they grow quickly and do very well in most pastured conditions.
     
  6. emys

    emys Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Silkie chickens are small, but the meat is all dark in color. There must be a reason they have been raised for generations as a meat bird, and are preferred meat in some cultures. Perhaps they are what you are looking for. Probably not as efficient as some breeds, but, you can probably obtain a free rooster off Craigslist to try.

    (I'm sure someone on BYC will be offended by my saying that about such cute fuzzy things; but it is true.)
     
  7. BuffaloWings

    BuffaloWings In the Brooder

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    IMO, Overall Cornish Cross chickens that get fed a ration with the intent on quick butcher times tend to be fairly bland. Plus, Cornish Cross were not bred for the purpose of large juicy legs and thighs. Only large white breast meat. If you really what juicy and flavorful dark meat. Get a faster growing large breed like Orpingtons or Rocks and supplement the rations with plenty of time free ranging. This will of course take several weeks longer than the Cornish Crosses do. Something about that free ranging gives those chickens a great flavor. Granted sometimes the meat is a little tougher than what the 8 week Cornish Cross would be, but so much more juicy and flavorful.
     

  8. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    Looks like I'll think about getting a batch of BO roos then to raise in the garden this spring (I have a 30x40 garden that is weeding over now, just got the last of my tomatoes out). I've been very pleased with the meat of my culled roos, but I think I'll be even happier with something that might be more geared to heavier meat.

    I completely anticipate longer times, as in the 15 to 20 week range. I'm ok with that. I'm also ok with "tougher" - aka meatier meat [​IMG] After all, I do prefer wild vension over store beef [​IMG]
     
  9. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Songster

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    Quote:For the bird size I prefer (4-5 lbs), 20 weeks is the minimum time for BO's. We prefer to say it has "more texture." LOL

    After all, I do prefer wild vension over store beef [​IMG]

    Me too! I told my DW the first time we ate BO leg quarters the color of the meat reminded me of venision.​
     

  10. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    Wow - just checked out the "local" hatchery here (Townline), and I can get BO boys for $1 each for 25 (cheaper as I get more). Sweet! They are $1.60ea for CX. Also, only $8-10 to ship!
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010

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