How To Prevent Tough Cooked Birds

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by france, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. france

    france Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My in-laws were visiting and saw our cornish x. They had some last year and when they went to cook them they were very tough. My mother in law had to get creative in cooking them. I do not know what the birds ate, their breed or anything. But this has me a little worried because the person who raised their meat birds has experience.

    So I have 43 cornish x. They are 2 weeks old and just starting on the 12 hours on/12 hours off feed. I am feeding an organic feed for meat birds. They will be processed at 9 weeks. They are presently in a shed but moving to a tractor my husband is building in another week or so. Is there anything I can do at this point to prevent tough birds? Other tips?

    Thanks!
     
  2. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you process at 9 weeks, then let them rest in the fridge for 2-4 days, they shouldn't be tough. I have come to discover that "tough" is a relative term. If one is used to eating chicken from the store and then switch a homegrown bird, they usually think they are tough in comparision to what they had been eating. Homegrown ones are going to have a bit more texture. Once you get used to them, you will think store ones are mushy and flavorless.
     
  3. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:So what is it that the big chicken plants do differently that makes the store bought birds have that "mushy, flavorless" texture and flavor? Is it what they are fed or the fact that they are in little cages and can't move. Just curious as to why homegrown meat is different than store-bought. Or, is it the processing after they are killed?
     
  4. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:So what is it that the big chicken plants do differently that makes the store bought birds have that "mushy, flavorless" texture and flavor? Is it what they are fed or the fact that they are in little cages and can't move. Just curious as to why homegrown meat is different than store-bought. Or, is it the processing after they are killed?

    It's several things. First off, many processing plants soak their birds in a salt water brine. The salt water breaks down the cell walls of the meat which allows it to be absorbed. This in turn creates a bird with more juice, all be it salt water, and makes it more tender. Secondly, it's hard telling the amount of time that has passed from the time the bird was processed to when the consumer puts it in their oven. If resting a homegrown bird for 2-4 days makes the meat more tender, sitting around for a longer period of time will result in a even more tender bird, which in my opinion equals mush.

    To the best of my knowledge, industry broilers aren't kept in little cages. They are raised in open floor areas, so that isn't relevant. Factory egg layers are kept in the battery cages.
     
  5. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

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    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  6. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I figured it out, you just tell them you don't eat that crap! We just did it at my in-laws last weekend. I didn't feel one bit bad, but of course it was the inlaws. I doubt I would have the nerve to do it at a friend's cookout.
     
  7. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

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    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  8. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Chicken and turkey houses are hundreds of feet long and full of birds from one end to the other. I would be suprised if the birds really move around that much - there are feeders and water every few feet. Pretty much all they do is eat and sleep.

    One thing I have noticed in chicken plants that is different from home processing is the birds pass thru a warm brine tank then they go into a cold brine chill tank. The way it was explained to me was the the warm brine opens the pores in the skin and gets into the meat then the cold closes them and keeps the brine in the bird.

    We don't brine our birds but age them in the fridge for a few days depending on the size of the bird. After that it's the cooking method as to how the bird turns out. We raise dual purpose birds so they are much older than a cross but you can cook the breasts on the grill and they are just fine if you cook them hot and fast. Don't overcook. If you do that with a leg 1/4 forget it. If you debone the thighs you can cook them on the grill as well. If cooking the whole bird low and slow is the key to tenderness.

    I agree with Bigredfeather 100%, once you learn how to cook homegrown store bought doesn't hold a candle to it. When we go to cookouts etc and people are cooking store bought we don't eat much. I haven't quite figured out a way yet to show up with our own meat, "yours has no taste so I brought my own" wouldn't fly. LOL

    Steve

    You're right.. my aunt has broiler houses.. they pack them as full as they can with chicks.. she walks the length of the houses several times a day removing dead birds.. when they reach 6 to 8 weeks (depending on if they are roasters or fryers) they get sent to the processing plants for slaughter
    once they get to the processing plant and go through the slaughter, plucking & evisceration.. they finally end up in the brine tanks (I used to work for a processing plant in Delaware).. they spend several hours in the brine tanks and at least an hour in the chiller tank.. once that is done they either get packaged as whole birds or go to cone de-bone or other stations for further processing.. (My job was to cut the tenders from the birds with a double bladed knife).. birds were usually packaged in cases and sent to the distribution areas for the different stores.. no idea how long they stay there before sent to the individual stores where we buy them.. the processing takes less than a day.. we actually had to stay on our shift til all of the birds for that day were done.. regardless of how long it took .. as to how long the stores distribution centers keep them I don't know for sure.. but I do know that one grocery store that I worked for would do another salt/soak AGAIN before packaging it for sale.
    When you consider the expiration dates on packages of chicken from the store.. and compare that to how long we can keep a homegrown bird in our refrigerators.. that tells me that the store bought ones have had more than enough time to age
     
  9. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Assuming you were allowed to bring a bird home with you from this processing plant, would you eat said bird after seeing the process?
     
  10. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

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    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011

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