Still eating some from last fall -- not too happy with flavor

bnentrup

Songster
9 Years
May 5, 2010
175
1
109
Central Indiana
Well, we butchered about 25- cornish X last fall and finishing up with the last of the batch. I gotta be honest, now that the thrill of growing my own freezer meat is lost, I can admit that I was NEVER impressed with the texture of the meat. Secondly, they seem'd too frickin huge! I would say average weights were about 5lbs of frozen carcass.

The texture---- just seems tough. Is this a direct effect of the weight/age? They made it to about 10-11-weeks old before I butchered them.

I am considering another batch this year, but will indeed keep them to about 2-3lbs 6-8 weeks and hope that this will solve the texture issue.

THE FLAVOR: ok, I admit that my after slaughter skills sucked. I was limited on freezer space and had to improvise. The problem was that it was a crazy hot day when processed and I think that the flavor was tainted by spoilage. Again, lesson learned.

BIGGEST LESSON-- I would say stick to 10-15 birds for your first batch and be ok with 2-3lb dressed weights.
 

Elite Silkies

Crowing
10 Years
Jun 17, 2009
5,410
49
251
Oklahoma
My Coop
They were way too old when you butchered them. I think butchering at about 6-8 weeks old you will see a big difference. The older the bird, the tougher the meat.
 
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bnentrup

Songster
9 Years
May 5, 2010
175
1
109
Central Indiana
PERFECT! thanks for the input; secondly, I feel strongly the flavor issue will be resolved if/when I handle smaller batches. I used coolers and feel that I did not regulate temps well enough before I froze them. ---

thanks again.
 

Clay Valley Farmer

Songster
9 Years
Sep 7, 2010
739
20
121
If you want to stay with more game hen to fryer sized chickens I would think 5-6 weeks will do. Mine are just over 5 weeks and are ranging between 4 and 5 lb live weight. Processed a runt yesterday with heart trouble and it dressed out about 2.5 lb. They went into the tractor last night to spend their last two weeks. Yeah!

If you plan to only keep them for a short go, I think you should be able to put the feed and light to them 24/7 and get them to finish weight quickly. Letting the meat sit a couple days before freezing helps with the texture, also don't try to freeze too many at once. Freeze 6 after a full day of fridge time, then 6 every 12 hours after, space them out in the freezer too, helps get them chilled to fozen as quick as possible.
 
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Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
Feb 2, 2009
25,900
16,193
797
Southeast Louisiana
I agree the texture thing is almost certainly age related. It is not breed, weight, or anything else but age.

The flavor thing is a little less simple. The flavor will get stronger as they age. It may have had nothing to do with how you processes them, but may again be age related. The older they get, the stronger the flavor. I like that flavor, but I don't fry them. Then it may be related to how you processed them. I don't know. When you process them, have lots of ice on hand and don't be afraid to use it.

I think CVF makes an excellent point in freezing only a few at a time. That keeps you from partially thawing other stuff in the freezer as well as getting the chicken frozen quickly. Most freezer instructions tell you how much you can add at a time to that particular model.

Good luck on your next batch. Although it may not have been perfect, sounds like this batch went OK and you are right. You learned quite a bit so the next will be better.
 

bnentrup

Songster
9 Years
May 5, 2010
175
1
109
Central Indiana
Thanks again guys; that was my first batch last year-- I documented quite a bit of the experience -- some good/some bad but overall a learning project!

For some reason, I was focused on getting them all to the 7lb live weight range and thus the extra weeks...the reason they were slower growing was due to the time of year that I did the project (hot July) - and possibly just the strain I bought. Kinda ironic though that if I just butchered them at 7-8 weeks I would have had better sized birds (I feel mine are way too big for a meal with my small family) and would have better taste/texture overall.

Hopefully this thread can influence a few this year that are struggling with their flock weights - and convince to just butcher them regardless of weight at 7-8 weeks (as long as they are 3+lbs live) - they will be VERY usable even with the low weights!

thanks again
 

Buster52

Songster
10 Years
Jan 28, 2009
3,635
41
228
Geronimo Oklahoma
A 10 or 11 week old bird should definitely NOT be tough. At all. I butcher heritage breeds often at 18 weeks and above and they still aren't what I would consider to be "tough". More texture, perhaps, but not tough. Add that to the fact these are CX and there is no way these things should be anything but tender.

My guess is you didn't let them rest properly before freezing. They have to rest in the fridge or on ice at least 24 hours before eating or freezing. If you don't you will freeze the rigor mortis right into the meat.

Now, they aren't going to be mush birds like you buy in the store. They will have more texture to them, but that is going to be the case with any CX that is not raised in a confinement house. Not tough, though.
 

gogoalie

Songster
9 Years
May 15, 2010
490
1
109
Alaska
I was thinkin' the exact same thing...I've eaten wild game that's probably froze right away, & my own wild game & can REALLY tell the difference...with both taste & texture...I love the fact that most people think that wild game isn't good, or has a "funny" taste to it, but I've had some of the BEST tasting moose in the world, as I've aged my moose, to allow the enzymatic reaction break down the proteins in the meat to tenderize it, & then freeze the game meat. And as you stated, it's probably the same with chickens...
 

Two Creeks Farm

Songster
8 Years
Apr 23, 2011
879
29
123
Hedgesville, WV
Quote:We have a fridge that gets plugged in a week before the season. We will quarter a deer and let it rest for a week in there when its to hot to hang. At one of our camps, we have a small insulated section with 2 AC units for teh very same thing....rabid cool down. It isnt uncommon to see 90 degree temps during early bow season
 
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