Says who, old birds are tough?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Puck-Puck, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. Puck-Puck

    Puck-Puck Chillin' With My Peeps

    After reading horror stories about how people couldn't get their teeth through old birds, and that they were only good for soup or stew, I just had to prepare an 18 month old free-range hen as a roast, to find out just how tough a bird could be. Her skin was a little tough, but the meat was pleasantly chewy, like food should be--not mush--and very tasty. It tasted like real chicken. Not something bland that you knew was chicken, because of the shape and the label. I did have her in a mild brine for about 48 hours, admittedly. I look forward to preparing more retired laying hens this way! Only it would be easier if they would turn mean, to justify their execution.
     
  2. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I think most of the time, when somebody has a really tough bird, it's because they cooked it too soon after processing, didn't brine, didn't marinate, and tried to cook it like a young fryer, i.e., hot and fast.

    Older birds are delicious, and tender, if handled and cooked properly. I eat lots of them. Very seldom as soup or stew.
     
  3. woolymama

    woolymama Out Of The Brooder

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    I am SOOOO glad to hear this - my chicken book says you can't eat roosters after they've begun crowing or they'll be too tough and unpleasant. My problem with this is I can't always tell who the roos are until after they crow. I was worried about hatching and having too many roos I couldn't process because it was too late.
     
  4. Plain Old Dee

    Plain Old Dee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Many years ago, we butchered a bunch of about 20 older leghorn hens. Now granted, leghorns are NOT good meat birds, and the ones we butchered were absolute proof! They were so tough, you couldn't chew the meat off the bone. Granted, the first time we tried cooking one was frying it. We found the only way they could be cooked to an edible consistency was to boil them (or stew them), debone the meat and chop it up. The flavor was outstanding - and they made great soup, stew and dumplings!
     
  5. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:That book was obviously written by somebody who's not much of a cook.
    I've found, many, many times, (to my dismay) that just because something got published, doesn't mean it's correct. There are a lot of people on this forum, including myself, who eat older birds all the time. We've learned to cook them properly, and they're great.

    When it comes to older birds, the crock pot is my friend. I stick the bird in the pot, season it, put just a couple of cups of water in the bottom, put the lid on, and go to bed if it's late, otherwise, just go about my business. Anywhere from 6 to 10 hours later. depending on the age of the bird, I've got fall-off-the-bones succulent chicken meat, to be used in any number of dishes, like chicken tacos, enchiladas, barbecue sandwiches, or whatever. The time can be shortened considerably, by cooking the bird in something that will tenderize it, such as buttermilk or tomato juice.

    While chicken and dumplings, soup, or stew can be very nice, those are NOT by any means the only things you can do with them. I have friends I have dinner with every couple of weeks, sometimes I bring one of my crock-pot-cooked birds, just in the pot, and we divide it up and eat it just as it is. With small bowls or cups of the amazing broth you get with an older bird, to dip hard rolls in. They're delicious, and my 2 city friends love it. They always look forward to "crock-pot-rooster night".
     
  6. woolymama

    woolymama Out Of The Brooder

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    Hmmmm.......Crock Pot Rooster sounds yummy!!!!!
     
  7. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Edit... realized that my question would sidetrack the topic so I moved it to my BYC page instead.

    Glad you brought this up though... I'd heard the same thing and I'm glad to see it's a crock.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2009
  8. TarzantheChickenMan

    TarzantheChickenMan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    old birds are supposed to be sloooooooooooooow cooked the longer and lower the temp the better
    lol i love old hens, chicken and dumplings just dont tell the family that you eating so and so bird lol
     

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