heritage meat bird question

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,310
12,616
707
Southeast Louisiana
I don't roast mine, I bake them in a covered baking pan after cutting them into serving pieces. Timing varies a bit depending on age at butcher, but I bake mine at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. For a 23 week old cockerel, maybe 3-1/2 hours or a bit more. Since they are in a tightly covered baking pan they don't dry out. I generally get about a half cup of liquid that is a great broth. I'm sure I cook them too long but the meat pretty much falls off of the bone. I have to carefully use a slotted spoon or the meat balls off.
 

jolenesdad

Free Ranging
Premium member
Apr 12, 2015
2,268
8,368
542
Montgomery, TX
I don't roast mine, I bake them in a covered baking pan after cutting them into serving pieces. Timing varies a bit depending on age at butcher, but I bake mine at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. For a 23 week old cockerel, maybe 3-1/2 hours or a bit more. Since they are in a tightly covered baking pan they don't dry out. I generally get about a half cup of liquid that is a great broth. I'm sure I cook them too long but the meat pretty much falls off of the bone. I have to carefully use a slotted spoon or the meat balls off.
Is there such a thing as too long when it sounds that delicious and meat falls off the bone??? :drool
 

Morrigan

Free Ranging
5 Years
Apr 9, 2014
2,737
11,142
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N. California
Below is a link to a good article discussing how to cook heritage birds. The information in the is article has mirrored my own experience. The youngest heritage chicken I ever processed and ate was 10 week old lavender maran cockerel who had started attacking a broody's chicks. Two days rest, split and grilled, and as tender as could be.

His behavior earned him an express pass to freezer camp, but I usually process my extra cockerels anywhere between 13 and 20 weeks -- basically, until they start crowing and making a nuisance of themselves to the hens. The 13-15 weeks old were good for frying and roasting. The older one's have tended to be turned into sausage, but I'm sure I could have roasted them.

 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,310
12,616
707
Southeast Louisiana
Do you find that the hens stay more tender than cockerels in this age range?
Yes. I typically butcher my cockerels around 23 weeks and pullets at 8 months after I've evaluated them for laying to see which I want to keep. I cook them the same. The pullets are generally more tender than the cockerels. Some of that might be because they are smaller pieces but I think it's mainly the hormones in the boys.
 

jermoatc

Songster
9 Years
Feb 5, 2011
238
78
171
Lake Crystal, MN
Oh I keep many heritage breeds for meat, even though I grow Cornish cross chickens. I keep the heritage breeds both for eggs and for capons as they fetch atleast three times the price of a broiler cross kilogram to kilogram. I caponize most of the dual purpose breeds like RIR, Rocks, Wyandottes, Dorking, Brahma, barnyard mutts, landrace and my favourite Jersey giants. I caponize them at the age of 5 to 9 weeks and sell them at the age of 21 to 30 weeks.

People in my country don't eat frozen meat, that's not a concept. They either buy fresh meat from the local butcher or directly buy from a farmer like me and then they process the bird at home before they cook. Before the arrival of Cornish cross only poor people ate intact roosters and they are often called "a sad meal" or "famine meal". I myself have not eaten an intact heritage rooster in a longtime.
What country are you from?
 

jermoatc

Songster
9 Years
Feb 5, 2011
238
78
171
Lake Crystal, MN
Below is a link to a good article discussing how to cook heritage birds. The information in the is article has mirrored my own experience. The youngest heritage chicken I ever processed and ate was 10 week old lavender maran cockerel who had started attacking a broody's chicks. Two days rest, split and grilled, and as tender as could be.

His behavior earned him an express pass to freezer camp, but I usually process my extra cockerels anywhere between 13 and 20 weeks -- basically, until they start crowing and making a nuisance of themselves to the hens. The 13-15 weeks old were good for frying and roasting. The older one's have tended to be turned into sausage, but I'm sure I could have roasted them.

Great article! Thanks for posting!
 

cgmccary

Songster
12 Years
Sep 14, 2007
1,834
312
241
NE Alabama
Those of you who raise heritage breeds (not crosses or broiler type) at what age do you harvest the cockerels? All the ones I've ever tried end up being very tough unless i crock pot them for many many hours. What breeds do you prefer and why?
It depends on the chicken breed. Some breeds have a rapid rate of growth, some a moderate rate and others a slow growth rate. It also depends, fryers, broilers or roasters? I harvest Buckeyes at 16-22 weeks. I harvest my La Fleche from 20-36 weeks. Breeds like Jersey Giants 1-2 years.
 
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