First butchering . . . what did I do wrong?

Mortimer

In the Brooder
11 Years
May 6, 2008
76
1
39
SW of Wichita, KS
OK, noob here to butchering chickens. I'm telling the whole story here just so you have all the details, and can tell me what I shouldn't do next time!

One of my Delaware roos, almost exactly a year old, went after a friend of mine's 2-year-old daughter so he had to go.

Right after it happened, my 16-year-old son chased him around the yard for awhile with a small fishing net duck-taped onto a 5-foot broomstick and couldn't catch him. By the time I got home the roo was so spooked neither of us could get within 25 yards of him.

So, rather than the axe he got a .22 bullet in the head from about 30 yards. He flopped around a bit, bled all over the place, and I collected the carcass and took it to the cleaning table.

I hunt, and have plenty of experience cleaning gamebirds (turkey, pheasant), but this was my first chicken butchering. Removed head and hung him upside down for a minute or two to finish "bleeding out" but there wasn't anything dripping so I started skinning him. Removed the skin from entire bird, cut out the breasts, thighs/legs and threw the rest in the trash. Did not eviscerate. Pretty skimpy breasts but the thighs & drumsticks were enormous.

Coated in barbecue sauce and cooked on the grill about 45 minutes later. I expected it to be a bit tough, I hear roosters are (especially older ones), but it was not only tough but tasted HORRIBLE. Hard to describe the taste, kindof a mix between "gamey" and "bloody." Just . . . bad. Dog loved it but I couldn't hardly gag it down.

My mother told me something about soaking the meat in salt water for a few hours before cooking, should I have done that?

Was my execution method that caused the terrible taste (not hanging to bleed out long enough, flopping around, etc)

Was the rooster just too darned old? He was right at 12mos. I hope that's not the prob I have about 20 more birds that age I'd like to butcher this summer.

Thanks in advanced for your sound advice!
 

Turtle

Songster
10 Years
Apr 2, 2009
323
0
119
Lyles,TN
We had an old roo that BF decided had to go. He cut the head off and let it bleed out and skinned it. I cleaned it and we pressure cooked it due to hearing how tough they are. Well it was still super tough and didnt taste all that great but as you said my dog loved it. So old chickens get feed to my dog and cats now after they are processed. Old hens are not as tough but still not very tender ok for soups and casseroles but I wouldnt fry them up for a good meal, we have a few young roos that we are gonna process in a month or two. I am hoping that tastes better.
 

saddina

Internally Deranged
10 Years
May 2, 2009
7,993
19
261
Desert, CA
12 months is old in terms of chicken (the ones at the store are less than 3 months old).

The running about before death may have caused some of the funk, several people report that it has to do with aderilanine in the meat.

With an old bird, I would've put it in a brine to rest and up the moisture in the meat. Grilling is dry heat and can make old birds tougher without a soak first.

If the meat tasted "bloody" it may not have bled out well enough.

If you have more his age that you wanna process waiting won't help the meat, read up on brining (I know i've written out directions a few times in the last month on here) and prepare to get it done.
 

SpringChickens

Songster
Feb 1, 2009
2,273
19
234
Lexington, KY
I think chicken soup works best for those old roosters... you can always dilute it down to your liking.

You might also try coq au vin (rooster in wine) the next time you shoot one. This recipe is supposedly best with a mature roo.

Good luck!
 

NurseNettie

Songster
11 Years
Feb 13, 2008
926
3
149
Northern Maine
We didn't like he taste of our "roos" meat, at about 7 months age or older last year-- but they make excellent chicken stock- the flavor is great.

I just butchered 4 of our newest roos-- they're currently brining in the fridge-- and are only 10 weeks old-- but I believe it's a good age for them. We've got a couple more to do next weekend. I'm hoping they taste much better than last year's older ones.
 

jaku

Songster
12 Years
Jan 13, 2008
2,134
6
191
Howard City, Michigan
I'd say several things contributed- the age of the roo, the fact that you didn't get a great bleedout, the bird ran around awhile before it was killed, you cooked it right away (not only the lactic acid built up in the muscles, but also rigor mortis was still in full effect.)

There's nothing wrong with your killing or butchering method, but next time, butcher a calm bird, much earlier, and let the meat rest for 24 hours in the fridge, (and salt water helps the meat break down a little better than regular water.)
 

Mortimer

In the Brooder
11 Years
May 6, 2008
76
1
39
SW of Wichita, KS
Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. Hopefully the next butchering will be a planned one rather than forced, and I can get it right.

Didn't realize the meat needed to sit in the fridge for awhile before cooking, that may have been alot of the problem right there -- it was maybe 45 minutes from gunfire to the grill. I have about a dozen pullets about 14 weeks old right now, once they start laying I plan on having a "butchering party" to bag up all the older hens.

Will definitely try brining before cooking the next one that seems like a good idea! Can I freeze whole chickens or parts in the brine, or will they turn out real salty?
 

Brunty_Farms

Songster
12 Years
Apr 29, 2007
2,305
35
221
Ohio
I'd say several things contributed- the age of the roo, the fact that you didn't get a great bleedout, the bird ran around awhile before it was killed, you cooked it right away (not only the lactic acid built up in the muscles, but also rigor mortis was still in full effect.)

There's nothing wrong with your killing or butchering method, but next time, butcher a calm bird, much earlier, and let the meat rest for 24 hours in the fridge, (and salt water helps the meat break down a little better than regular water.)

DITTO..... Cave man style.... kill em' and grill em'

Next time definately let them "age" for about 3 days before eating them. The longer the better.... roosters taste good using the method "low and slow" as only fryers are good and tender on the grill. (6 week old cornish x's). Any animal that is killed and cooked right away without aging is going to be tougher than what it would be if it sat for at least 24 hours.

Roosters are best in chicken noodle soup....chicken & dumplings... chicken pot pie... and any type of cassoroles.​
 

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