Grinding questionn


Mar 3, 2015
Ontario, Canada
I've been hatching a few eggs every year to replenish my laying hens, and we eat the roosters. However, I just can't get used to the tough, stringy texture, so this time I'm going to try grinding the meat. My question is whether I need to let the meat rest for a few days still before grinding, or if I can just do the whole process tomorrow.

Apparently more luck was needed, Ridgerunner. :p My method is a little old fashioned, so don't fault me- it's what works for me. I actually only have the one rooster this time around , and I hung him from the same branch I always use and turned around to get my loppers- I heard a big crack, the branch broke, the rooster got free, and after a while of chasing him around through my dense cedar forest, I gave up... He's back in the coop now; I would've pulled him again tonight to empty his crop, but it's supposed to snow here off and on all day tomorrow, so he gets a reprieve until next weekend. So I've got time to hear other ideas..

This boy is the oldest I've done, he's almost 6 months, the others have all been 4.5-5.5 months. I've tried dry roasting, roasting with moisture, and crockpotting them. The last one I tried to make directly into soup, but I forgot to let him rest for a couple days- that was awful. The crockpot was by far the best (I think that was an austrolorpe, the others have all been EE or EE/austrolorpe crosses. This one is supposed to be a barred rock, but he's as pure as my solid brown 'speckled sussex' hens I got from the same guys eggs...:rant). This guy is also the biggest I've had, part of the reason I kept him till now is he's bigger every time I see him- which is probably why he broke my branch :gig.
The one that you used for soup, did that come to a roiling boil or was it just at a light simmer. Simmering is good, a roiling boil is too much. How hot was the oven when you baked them?

At 4 to 6 months try this recipe. Cut the bird into serving pieces, rinse them but do not dry them, and put them in a baking dish with a good tight cover. Coat them with a healthy amount of herbs. I use basil and oregano but suit your tastes. Cover it and bake in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-1/2 to 4 hours. I use a slotted spoon to remove the meat, being careful because it might fall off the bone. 250 degrees is not a typo. The liquid left behind should not have much fat with a cockerel. You can skim off what fat you see and will have the best broth you ever tasted.

As they age cockerels develop flavor. A five to six month old cockerel is going to taste different from the 6 to 8 week old chicken you buy at the store. Some of that taste is from aging, a lot from the hormones as they go through puberty. Some people like that added flavor, some don't. Pullets do the same but their hormones aren't nearly as strong so there is not that much flavor change compared to cockerels.

As they age chickens develop texture. The fibers get longer. The same thing happens with beef. Veal is made from young calves and has little texture. A good steak made from an older animal will have more texture. That doesn't mean a steak has to be tough if it is aged and cooked properly. Same thing with older cockerels. They will have more texture than the store bought chicken but they don't have to be tough.

Your expectations play into it also. If the only thing you'll accept is the taste and texture of store bought chicken you will be disappointed. It appears you are willing to do some trial and error, you'll probably find something that suits you. Good luck.|5079:0

Try a covered roasting pan like this one. 5 month and older birds can be roasted until the meat falls from bone in a covered pan like this. Same idea as Ridgerunners cooking method except you roast whole bird. Skin will be golden brown as it should be at low heat.

I cull as many unwanted cockerels as I can 12 to 14 weeks of age. At this age you can still grill them. If you brine the bird it aids in retaining moisture and of course imparts salt flavor. 6 to 7 oz of salt, dry weight, per gallon of water for a 24 hour brine soak. Cut birds in half when butchering then to fridge, in pot with lid, for two days then add brine to cover birds for last day. Grill the halves as the portion is small at that age makes for good serving.
Thanks guys, that's helpful. I probably did cook them too hot. I can't remember for sure if I let the soup all out boil, but I'll watch that when I try again. Maybe I'll part this guy out and try a few things... Egghead_Jr, is there much meat on a laying type bird at that young age? They usually look scrawny enough when I've been butchering them :)

It's not the flavour we minded, my husband and I thought it was actually pretty good and my son loved it. And yeah, the soup broth, gravy, etc- fabulous. Just the actual texture we couldn't quite deal with. I'll let you know how it turns out!
Oh their small but will be as proportioned as larger bird. Layer type are mostly leg. Will be much easier plucking when young and since you split in half you don't have to worry about trying to cram your hand in to clean them out, get the intestine out then split to finish clean.

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