We just had a couple of my Silver Sebright/White Rock cross breeds that I butchered last week. The breast meat was fine but the dark meat was very gamey. Do some breeds retain the wild flavor? Just curious.
I have a similar issue. Butchered Plymouth Rocks at 16 weeks old (boys). The white meat was delicious. Dark meat was tough/chewy/mildly gamey. They lived free range lives and were feed organic feed with lots of kitchen scraps. So far dark meat prepared three ways: 1) in slow cooker for 8 hours --chicken cacciatore 2) whole chicken roasted in oven and 3) oven fried chicken. I was disappointed in all three methods with the slow cooker method better than the others. In my opinion the fried chicken was inedible (my husband, bless him, ate it). Did we wait too long to butcher? Is it the feed? Is this normal? Thanks in advance.
The oldest roo we ate was just about a year old. We roasted him in the oven with a cup of chicken broth in the pan (turkey dinner-style) at 325. He came out pretty good. Same as you, free ranged with organic feed available. I thought the five or six-month old rooster we cooked that way was a mite better, but my husband disagrees. It was quite flavorful.
That being said, I like a chicken with flavor, and haven't had many store chickens over the years because DH was a vegetarian for the first couple decades of our life together. So maybe someone who has gotten used to store chicken wouldn't like the taste of home-raised chicken as much?