how old is old?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by kywest, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. kywest

    kywest Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 14, 2009
    central Ohio
    We just processed our first rooster (he was beating up my hens, a no-no) and now I wonder - how old is an "old" rooster for cooking purposes. He was about 9 months old, easter egger. Resting in a pot of brine in my garage right now and I'm just deciding how to best enjoy him!

    Would also like some evisceration tips. That was a bear. I think it took longer than plucking!

    thanks! I just love all of the good advice on this forum!
  2. celticfarmer

    celticfarmer Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 30, 2009
    Northern MN
    One thing to remember is that nothing is too old for the crock pot.

    Here is something I snagged that might be helpful:

    Chickens fall into several classifications:

    Broiler-fryer can weigh up to 3 1/2 pounds and is usually around 2 1/2 months old. These chickens, as the name implies, are best when broiled or fried.
    Roasters, are more flavorful and have a higher fat content. They are perfect for roasting and rotisserie cooking, and usually range between 2 1/2 and 5 pounds and can be up to 8 months old.
    Stewing chickens (also called hens, boiling fowl and just plain fowl ) usually range in age from 10 to 18 months and can weigh from 3 to 6 pounds. Their age makes them more flavorful but also less tender, so they're best cooked with moist heat, such as in stewing or braising.
    Capon is a rooster that is castrated when quite young (usually before 8 weeks), fed a fattening diet and brought to market before it's 10 months old. Ranging from 4 to 10 pounds, capons are full-breasted with tender, juicy, flavorful meat that is particularly suited to roasting.
    Rock Cornish hen, also called Rock Cornish game hen , is a hybrid of Cornish and White Rock chickens. These miniature chickens weigh up to 2 1/2 pounds and are 4 to 6 weeks old. Because of the relatively small amount of meat to bone, each hen is usually just enough for one serving. Rock Cornish hens are best broiled or roasted.
    Squab Chicken (poussin in French), different from the true squab, is a very small, 4- to 6-week-old chicken that weighs no more than 1 1/2 pounds. These tiny birds are best broiled, grilled or roasted.
    Cock or Rooster is an older bird and therefore rather tough. It's best used in soups or to make broths.

    Free-range chickens are the elite of the poultry world in that, in contrast to the mass-produced birds allotted 1 square foot of space, each range chicken has double that area indoors plus the freedom to roam outdoors. They're fed a special vegetarian diet free (according to most range chicken breeders) of antibiotics, animal byproducts, hormones and growth enhancers. The special diet and freedom of movement is thought by some to give this fowl a fuller, more "chickeny" flavor; the added amenities also make these birds much more expensive than mass-produced chickens. Free-range chickens average 4 1/2 pounds and are usually around 10 to 12 weeks old.
  3. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2008
    How times change ! Free range chickens were the unlucky chickens that I used to chase down and catch in the barn yard as a kid for Sunday dinner. [​IMG] On a Friday, Grandma would request something like 6- 1 1/2lb Bantys, to several 3 lb cockerals, to a 8 pound NHR rooster, to a couple old spent laying hens. Early on a Saturday morning,my father and I would catch them and then would butcher them. Then Grandma would cook them for Sunday dinner. [​IMG] Now Free Range chickens are the snobs of the chicken world for the elite crowd that will pay a huge price for anything trendy. [​IMG]
  4. mommyofthreewithchicks

    mommyofthreewithchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2010
    Quote:Thanks for this. I am looking at a few of our roosters that had a pass the first time I butchered and now are 7 months old or so.
  5. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    There's never been a bird so tough that a pressure cooker cannot tenderize him.

    It's all in the cooking method you choose. The older the bird the lower and slower the cooking with plenty of moisture. Think stewing rather than frying. Coq au vin comes to mind.

    I can say from personal experience that one should NOT barbecue a bunch of two year old dual-purpose free-ranged roosters! No, that wasn't my idea, I just had to experience it way back when.
  6. celticfarmer

    celticfarmer Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 30, 2009
    Northern MN
    Quote:Personally I would do them low and slow. I really like the way rosemary adds to meat during a good long roast. I usually skin my chickens, so I need to keep some extra moisture on them I like to lay pieces of bacon on them so as they roast that flavor soaks in. But if the skin is on them you can do what ever you want.

    Ooh I know, coat the inside of the body cavity with a mixture of herbs and butter (get creative), and slow cook that baby, it should be delicious.

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