How long to rest meat, and brining question

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by ninjapoodles, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    We butchered our first chickens today , and now they're dressed and resting in the fridge. I have a couple of questions:

    1. How long should the birds rest before being cooked/frozen? I've seen everything from 12 hours to 48 hours.

    2. Can the "resting" be done in a salt/sugar brine? And then cooked once the resting period is over?
     
  2. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    Good for you, NJ, the worst part is over!

    Here's how I do it, but you'll probably get a variety of answers, and I don't know if my way is any more or less good than the others. I know it seems to have worked out ok for us.

    After we butcher, we bag up the birds, and let them rest in the fridge anywhere from 24 hrs to 3 days, depending on when I have time to mess with them. After that, you can cook and eat them, or freeze them, or whatever you planned to do. 24 hrs. gets the bird past rigor, I don't know if there's any benefit to additional aging or not. Some say yea, some say nay.

    You can indeed rest them in the salt/sugar brine solution, (if you decide to brine) but I wouldn't soak them longer than 24 hrs, they could absorb too much salt.

    I encountered one guy who always went on about how he cooked them right away, just loved that fresh taste, claimed none of his birds were ever tough, regardless of age or breed. I always just kind of figured either he was jerking everyone's legs, or he had jaws and teeth of steel, and no meat was ever too tough for him. To each his own.

    I read your account of the day, good job! Very interesting to read a direct comparison between pithing and beheading. I'm a recent convert to pithing, I will be doing the deed in the near future without the help of my DH-which would not happen if they had to get beheaded-as he's working 6 days a week right now. Temporarily, I'm glad to say.

    The 3 young ones, you should be able to cook anyway you want, fry, grill, broil, whatever, and they should be nice and tender. The older one, I'd either slow roast or crock pot. He could be tough. I'd brine that one, too. The others shouldn't need brining, unless you plan to cook them in a way that might dry them out, in which case it can help keep them moist.

    I recently tried marinating in buttermilk, it seems to help tenderize the meat, and it's sure tasty. Works well with tougher cuts of deer meat, too. I soak it overnight in a covered bowl, some use a ziplock bag, but they sometimes leak.

    In the future, you might want to save those legs, backs, and maybe the necks, too. You don't have to cook them right away them for stock. Just toss them in separate baggies, split into meal size portions, let them rest along with the spatchcocked ones, then freeze until you feel like dealing with them. I crock-pot mine, and the meat and broth make great chicken and dumplings, or chicken tacos, chicken salad, casseroles, enchiladas, BBQ sandwich meat, etc. I sometimes throw a package of backs and necks in the crock-pot when I'm busy, it doesn't take long to take the meat off the bones after it's cooked. Then I have nice tender meat to stir up with whatever, some veg for stir fry, some salsa, cheese, and refried beans for burritos.....chicken tacos are fast. Heat the meat with some seasonings, chop tomatoes, lettuce, green onions, shred some cheese, stuff into warmed tortillas, flour or corn, both are very tasty.

    The crock-pot is my friend.

    Of course, the dogs need to eat, too, so it's not a waste. I have 4 dogs who wish I would give them the backs and legs, too!
     
  3. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When you said legs, did you mean drumsticks, or just the bare leg/feet part of the leg? I don't eat that part, either, but I'd never throw out a drumstick!
     
  4. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    Thanks, Jenny! I should clarify, the part of the legs the dogs got was the lower part, with the feet--not the drumsticks, which my daughter claimed! (She cracks us up, because she calls the chickens' and turkeys' legs "drumsticks" whether they're cooked or still running around.)

    Good idea about saving some necks and backs for soup/stock at a later time. I make dumplings all the time, so that would be a good plan.

    My dogs are raw-fed all the time, but they usually get beef. They love some good chicken!
     
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Forks, Virginia
    I keep mine in the fridge at least 24 hours before putting them in the freezer. I like to be very sure they are chilled all the way to the bone before putting in the freezer.

    Before cooking a fresh chicken I let it rest at least 24 hours in the fridge. Then the day before cooking I try to give it another 24 hours in a brine or in buttermilk depending on how I want to cook it.

    The longer you let it rest the more tender the meat will be.
     
  6. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    Quote:Good to know. I want to use the skinned ones for dumplings, so maybe I'll put them in the Crock-Pot on Monday morning before I go to work. That would be 36 hours' resting...does a stewing chicken usually need brining, as well?
     
  7. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it's an older bird, brining or soaking in buttermilk goes a long way to prevent stringiness, even if it's destined for stewing. For a nice young bird, I wouldn't brine. But I wouldn't stew a nice young bird, I have too many toughies in the freezer for that. Those young ones are gonna be fried or rotisseried. Or baked in the clay cooker a friend just gave me, it's great.
     
  8. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I wouldn't brine a nice young chicken. It should be tender. Are you sure you want to put it in a crockpot? That's for old birds. LOL
     
  9. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    The younger ones will go on the grill, spatchcocked. The older one... Well, he's not really "old" but he's not a baby. We may, just to test tenderness for our own purposes, cook them without any further preparation this time, so we'll know what we're dealing with next time.
     
  10. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    Quote:You think the 16-week one is young enough? I have one of each age group skinned.
     

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