Rubbery legs on your cornish X?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by washxc, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. washxc

    washxc In the Brooder

    Mar 20, 2010
    Hey Guys,

    We did 30 cornish X's this past summer and have been slowly working through our freezer this winter (chickens and pigs from our pasture, and a deer from the woods). This is our first time raising cornish x birds, and it seems we can't quite find a good way to cook them, with the exception of roasting a whole bird in the crock pot, which has turned out well.

    I baked legs and thighs tonight with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic and the legs were rubbery. The thighs weren't bad, but rubbery legs seems to be a theme the last few times we've cooked.

    On the flipside, it seems like the breast meat has been somewhat dry when I've cooked them. I'm pretty sure that at least part of the problem is that I'm not much of a cook.

    Has anyone else experienced this? Any remedies for rubber legs and dry breast meat?


  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
  3. washxc

    washxc In the Brooder

    Mar 20, 2010
    ddawn, last night I baked the legs and thighs at 375 for an hour and the legs came out rubbery. I'm thinking rubbery is indicative of undercooking? As far as the breast meat, I think I'm generally doing about the same temperature and time, maybe that's too long and it's drying them out?
  4. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    it really depends on what you are calling rubbery . . . I suspect that you may need to let them "rest" or "age" a little longer before cooking; some people refer to this as chewy, others call it tough, but it is generally the issue when somone is unhappy with their fresh meat.

    If you are seeing blood they are undercooked.

    that said though, you are probably also over cooking them; legs/thighs 350 degrees for around 40 min
    Breasts 375 for 20-30 min, bone in a little longer
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011

  5. Talihofarms

    Talihofarms Songster

    Dec 4, 2010
    I have raised the cornish x for many years and we free range them in the summer.
    Pasture raised has tougher legs than the store as you know.
    What I find that works best, is to age the birds in the fridge. 2-4 days.
    If you have only legs and wings to cook, I like to put them in a brine.

    Slow cooking works for the legs and for the Dp breeds on pasture.

    If whole roasting let the internal temp go to 170. (take temp at the thigh) Let it rest for 15 min.

    just my .02
  6. quercus21

    quercus21 Songster

    Jul 21, 2008
    Tivoli, NY
    If you breast meat was "dry", sounds to me you over cooked it. Our birds go right into the freezer after processing them and haven't had a problem with toughness or chewiness. I have to admit, putting 40 - 50 birds at one time in the freezer takes a few days for them all to freeze, maybe they are "aging" then? Sometimes, depending on what I am making, I'll cook the meat longer to dry it out, toughen it up a bit. If I don't want "dry/tough" meat, clear juices ( not red or pink) should run from the meat when it's done. There shouldn't be any red or pink around the breast or legs/thigh bones.

    edit: The birds I raise for meat are the Cornish X
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011
  7. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    Try cooking based on the internal meat temp, I would imagine that it will be "done" a lot sooner than you initially thought. [​IMG]

  8. machodoc

    machodoc Hatching

    Jan 11, 2011
    I'm curious as to how old your birds were when you harvested them. We've raised a few batches of CX chickens and haven't really had much problem with "rubbery" or dry meat. If you harvested them on the small side, they might just be (over) cooking faster than you think--as others here have noted. I'm also wondering what you fed them, and on what schedule.

    It occurs to me that those sort of results might also come from not feeding enough protein to them early on. CX birds require a real balancing act as to when to harvest and how to feed. We've processed some at 6 weeks and ended up with slightly smaller birds than we would have liked. We have also processed some hens at 11 weeks, and were happy with them, but were getting nervous about their health by then. Ten weeks is probably close to ideal. They seem to do best if given 20-21% protein for the first 4 weeks, then about 18% for the next two weeks, then you can step it down to as low as 16% to keep them from getting too heavy too fast. After the first four weeks (some think sooner) only make food available to them for 12 hours out of 24. You want them to be fat, but not grow so fast that they can't walk and develop heart and lung problems.

    Anyone who goes into raising CX birds needs to do so realizing that they simply aren't going to be as active and "chickeny" as most other breeds. They also need to realize that they are bred to be processed for meat. Any attempt to keep them around past about 10-11 weeks is probably going to result in watching a bird die a slow death. They are food-processing machines that can be very messy if not given plenty of room (or moved often, if they are in a chicken tractor). They grow remarkably fast and eat a lot. Don't expect to produce them for less than you can buy chicken at the market. That's not gonna happen. But if you can buy bulk feed at good prices, you'll have the satisfaction of producing some very tasty meat at a reasonable cost. We figured out once that we put in about 2.5 pounds of feed for every pound, live weight, the birds gain up to processing time. Do the math and you'll see that even 50 birds can consume a whole lot of feed in a short time ... especially after they get to be 3-4 weeks old.

    They aren't much fun to watch, either, since they are couch potatoes ... messy ones ... but that's what they are bred to be. That said, they seem to be very happy eating until they fall asleep with their heads in their food, only to wake up and go to eating again. Oh ... they do produce lots of really good garden fertilizer.
  9. washxc

    washxc In the Brooder

    Mar 20, 2010
    Thanks for all the replies, it's appreciated. We butchered our birds at 8 weeks and the hens dressed out around 4-5 pounds, and the roosters 5-7 pounds. We had them on 20% starter for the first few weeks and then backed off to 18% to finish them out.

    I'm really thinking that my lack of culinary skills may be the culprit. With the rubbery legs my inclination is that they weren't done, even though they were in the oven at 375 for an hour. At 50 minutes there was still some pink juice, so I put them back in for another ten minutes.

    Maybe the solution is to get a meat thermometer and give it a try. The birds that we've roasted whole, either in the oven or the crock pot, have come out delicious. Though I must say, I generally prefer the greasier leg meat to the dryer breast meat when we roast.

  10. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Songster

    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    If you were used to store bought chicken and this is your first time doing your own broilers, that may be part of it as well. Homegrown birds have more texture. I know it took us a while to get used to the difference. We have been letting ours age in the fridge for at least 3 days, usually 4 and it makes a difference. Also, most store chicken is soaked in a brine to open up the cooking window and prevent the white meat from getting dry.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by