Just how soon can I eat my birds?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Brodes, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. Brodes

    Brodes In the Brooder

    Sep 18, 2009
    Mount Desert, Maine
    So I plan to harvest my heritage birds next weekend with some of my family who have some more experience than I do. I was planning on cooking one of the turkeys that day to help celebrate but I have been reading and that may have been my first mistake. Please bear with me on these questions as this is my first in what hopefully me many times over at harvesting my own birds.

    I know that I need to fully cool the birds before placing them in the freezer and it could take some time but do I need to wait to stuff and cook them as well? Probably not but there could be some strange chemical reaction that I am not aware of.

    I have read that heritage birds should sit in a brine solution for one hour per pound to soften the meat since they are so much more active. Does this soaking make that big of a difference?

    On a separate note, my toms weighed about 20-22 on the hoof last week so I think I should plan on 15 - 16 lbs after cleaning so what sized freezer bag would on suggest for that sized bird?

    Thanks in advance for any patient replies but I want to do it myself and correctly.


  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    I would imagine they are much like a wild turkey. We've never had to soak ours in brine solution but we have rested the meat for 24 hours before freezing or cooking. I've found my favorite way to eat wild turkey is to filet, roll in flour and fry the breast and "soup" the rest. NO meat better than wild turkey breast prepared in this way! [​IMG]
  3. Brodes

    Brodes In the Brooder

    Sep 18, 2009
    Mount Desert, Maine
    But you do rest the carcass though. I wonder if I should whack one the day before as a warm up?
  4. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    first it doesn't take that long to cool the carcass, less than an hour in ice water.
    second brining is by preference only many people swear by it and just as many don't like it. I have done it a few times and it didn't seem worth the effort for me.
    third - resting the bird . . . I do it for 24-48 hours not to avoid a chemical reaction but to allow the rigor to leave the body the meat is more to my families liking that way. that said many many hunters and home cooks with back yard flocks butcher and cook the same day. The meat will cling to the bone a little more and some people describe it as "tougher" I don't think it is, just really a different texture and; It sounds like the perfect way to celebrate all that work.
  5. Ibicella

    Ibicella Songster

    Nov 13, 2009
    Everett, WA
    I only whack, clean, and let it rest 2 days in the fridge before I cook it. It gives the meat a chance to get past rigor mortis.

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