Help... I'm not enjoying the's too tough

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by jlbpa, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. jlbpa

    jlbpa In the Brooder

    Mar 2, 2007
    butchered and roasted a rooster this weekend. It was confined for serval weeks in a crate and fed crumbles and cracked corn. Cooked it in a Lodge Dutch Oven.
    meat tasted fine but was too tough and chewy. I've also butchered and boiled a
    rooster and this meat was not tender either. What I'm I doing wrong? I feed them crumbles and cracked from South States and they range free prior to being confined on death row for a week or so in a crate.

    My chickens are straight run heavies (meat and layer) from McMurray.

    I have 24 buff orphingtons pullets. And 6 turkey pullets. How do I keep them
  2. buc

    buc Songster

    Apr 20, 2007
    ok, i'll take a shot at this, if you took the skins off (as I do when dressing the chickens) then I suggest you cook your chicken on a barbque, put some foil over the grate on the bq and put a few holes in it.

    cook for about 40 minutes, turn as need and brown to liking, I have always had tender juice pieces to put on the plate, the family always wolfs it down.
  3. pueawjapygrta

    pueawjapygrta In the Brooder

    Jan 28, 2007
    how old was the rooster?

    try lowering the heat, and cooking longer. soaking in saltwater helps too
  4. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    How old was the rooster? They need to be butchered as they come to the weight that you want, anything after that just costs more in feed and the meat starts to toughen up.

    How well do they take to the crate after free ranging them? If they are stressed out from it, they will stop eating for a short period and any weight loss during that period toughens the meat. They need to continuously put on weight until butcher day.

    Did you age the meat after butchering? They need to be chilled in ice water or refrigerated for at least four hours before cooking to let the enzymes in the meat start to break down the tissue and tenderize the meat. Most people will give it at least a day in the refrigerator before cooking. Straight from the axe to the frying pan gives you tough meat.
  5. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    It is a common missconception that alot of people have, that they think they can send a 15 week or older roo to the block and get the tender meat they seek. Once a roo goes "stag" (gets his spurs and begins "servicing" the flock) their meat gets darker, tougher, and more 'stringy' with a somewhat 'gamey' taste.

    Your best bet for tender, meaty chickens is to buy some Cornish Cross which are bred to grow quickly and thus go quickly to the block and reducing feed costs. Their meat is much less 'gamey' than a stag roos, as well as being that tender melt-in-your-mouth meat you are craving. The feed ratio is roughly 2-to-1 meaning that for each 2 pounds of feed they consume, they gain a pound in weight. They fill out to a roughly 8 pound bird (cockerels) in about 10 weeks. I have some now at the halfway point. Man, they look yummy! [​IMG]
  6. jlbpa

    jlbpa In the Brooder

    Mar 2, 2007
    The rooster was just about 11 months old. I did notice he stopped eating for two days after I crated him. I did put it in the refridgerator overning before cooking but not in water. It didn't taste gamey at all but it did seem like the taste of the meat would have benefited from a soaking in cold saltwater. He did roam with the flock and tangle with the other roosters and rape the ladies. His aggressiveness is what put him on death row. That's how we choose who to kill but I guess that's why we end up with tough meat. His dark meat was very dark and very tough. I hate to wack the nice guys but seems I'll have to start doing that and at a younger age. So 15 weeks or so - I'll give that and a cold salt water soak a try. I'll process the buff orphingtons I have at 15 weeks or so.
    And I'll try to barbeque the rest of the old men (11 months) or perhaps the stew pot. Some cornish will be in the next order.

    Thanks for all the help
  7. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

    Mar 7, 2007
    Mount Airy, NC
    11-month roosters will definitely give you tough, stringy meat. Going younger should help solve the problem. Also, the more stress the animal is under in the hours leading up to his death will also contribute to meat quality problems. Increased stress = increased corticosteroid levels = poor meat quality. Therefore, try to keep the animals routine as normal as possible up to the time of processing.
  8. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    [​IMG] Here I thought you were talking about birds you had raised specifically for meat and were wondering why they weren't tender, not some old yard birds.

    Those 11 month old roos are definitely not roasting birds. Put them in a large stew pot or crockpot and slow cook them until the meat falls off the bone. Seperate the broth, meat, and the bones. You can reduce the broth and freeze it for soup stock. You can freeze the meat in zip lock bags for use in soups, stews, casseroles, etc.
  9. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Home grown chicken meat is nearly always going to be 'tough' compared to the slop you buy at a grocery store. Eventually your perspective changes and you realize the birds at the grocery store are insipid and flavorless. You will get used to the difference and appreciate the more chickeny flavor from your own birds. The best way to get tender'ish birds is to get a specific meat bred chicken (not a fattened laying breed) and raise them no longer than 10 weeks.

    However, with all that said, an 11 month old roos is not going to be really great unless you stew it. If you are good in the kitchen, it's hard to be beat Coq au Vin for flavor though! If you can find Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's version (he's an English chef) give it a whirl. You may find yourself saving your roos to eat when they're well developed and 6+ months old.

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