Surprised in culling 5 month old roosters!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by goosemama, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. goosemama

    goosemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    244
    1
    111
    Jul 11, 2009
    Forestville, New York
    Decided not to raise Cornish Crosses for meat this summer and instead do as our grandmothers did - hatch chicks and save the females for egg laying and cull the roosters for meat. I had some Barred Rock, Delaware & Buff Orpington crosses. At 5 months of age they were all a good hefty size (fed 20% protein pellets and cracked corn & wheat as a treat). The roosters were tall and about 5lbs after butchering with big legs and thighs and half the breast meat of the Cornish (which is to be expected). But I was surprised how HARD they were to cut up - the bones were thick, hard and I needed a cleaver in between the joints to separate the pieces. Boiled for soup they were ok but baked in the oven they were rough. I did soak them for 24 hours in ice water then froze in plastic bags and then all in salt water to thaw after freezing. My Cornish were always easy to dismember and tender. Is this because of the age (5 months) of these regular breeds?
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

    30,535
    4,897
    541
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I have read on here that most recommend harvesting most chickens by 18-20 weeks or they are not tender. A friend just harvested one of our 7 month olds, and it was tough. I think the older birds need to be slow-cooked or stewed.
     
  3. goosemama

    goosemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    244
    1
    111
    Jul 11, 2009
    Forestville, New York
    These roosters were 20 weeks - hatched first week of June so being within the 20 week frame I thought they would be ok. I usually save the wing tips, necks and backbones of all the chickens I cut up and store in the freezer and when I have enough I use that to make soup. Seems such a waste to use a whole chicken for a pot of soup and not a main meal. Will try the next one stewed to see if it cooks up more tender than the first. But this has been a disappointing experience. Seems like I'm going to have to either buy chicken for fryers at the supermarket or start raising Cornish again.
     
  4. bustermommy

    bustermommy Chillin' With My Peeps

    734
    3
    121
    Apr 16, 2011
    Did you age it? I've heard mixed stuff about aging during freezing. Nobody seems sure it works. This is my plan too, but I have to admit, I don't want to have to stew every chicken I eat. If I need to raise a few cornish x, I could, but it would be difficult to find the room for those in addition to all the rest.
     
  5. EggsForIHOP

    EggsForIHOP Chillin' With My Peeps

    488
    2
    121
    Apr 18, 2010
    TEXAS
    With tougher meats it all about technique...even an older bird such as yours can ALMOST be as tender as store bought fryers...

    we had some EE and RIR roos last year - couldn't even tell you for sure how old...but 6 months or better by the time we processed them (Either they were hatched in May or June...and I VIVIDLY recall processing them in December and January as we got around to it)...

    To make fried chicken, we cut them up, and soaked them in butter milk for 2 days...seasoned with salt and garlic and pepper...baked VERY low and slow...i usually set the oven at 250 and pop stuff in early and let it go all day COVERED to keep the steam and juices in...pull out and let cool...as the chicken pieces are already cooked through, all I have to do is batter and quick fry for a crispy golden outside...and you wanta know something...I absolutely CANNOT "fry" a chicken any other way...every time I've ever tried to do even store bought chicken without the pre-baking step I ALWAYS end up with burnt crust and raw at the bone chicken...this is the only way I can ever get it "just right"...crazy huh? I tried all my life to fry chicken...and finally learned a way that works for me when I had to handle our excess roos...

    it will still have more "texture" than a store bought bird or cornishX...but should be well beyond palatable and even quite delicious if I do say so myself [​IMG] My niece said "It's like a chicken fried steak"...I don't know if she meant it was cooked all the way for a change or chewy...but it wasn't bad and the buttermilk helps to tenderize I know...

    Just saying...tossing something out there that worked here...it is a lot of work for fried chicken I guess...but that's the only way I can get ir right anyways [​IMG]
     
  6. naillikwj82

    naillikwj82 Chillin' With My Peeps

    232
    29
    111
    Oct 30, 2011
    Olympic Peninsula, WA
    You might try caponizing at 5-6 weeks of age. Bird will be a bit larger, and tender for almost 10 months. If your procedure is unsuccessful you would still have a small treat.
     
  7. goosemama

    goosemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    244
    1
    111
    Jul 11, 2009
    Forestville, New York
    Thanks so much for the unique frying technique. I've soaked cut up fryers in buttermilk before but never for two days. The thought of double cooking first in a slow oven and then frying seems a lot of extra work - I like to cook and then get out of the kitchen. But I would gladly do it to use a perfectly good rooster for a main meal (instead of just for soup). I love homemade soup and can make a meal of it with homemade bread but not my husband who was raised on it (he's spoiled and doesn't know how good he had it as a child). So trying to make an acceptable meal out of a rooster is a real goal of mine. Hate to think of taking their life for "just soup". Thanks for your suggestion and I will definitely try it.
     
  8. EggsForIHOP

    EggsForIHOP Chillin' With My Peeps

    488
    2
    121
    Apr 18, 2010
    TEXAS
    Oh! wait! there's also chicken enchiladas or tacos...another slow thing here...but seasoned right, simmered all day and then deboned and fried up in a skillet before turning into taco meat..MMMM....and that qualifies as a meal too (if you eat tacos I suppose, but they don't have to be spicy to be good if it's spicy food you don't like). Those are chicken, salt, garlic, cumin, onion, and if you like chili of some sort (powder or actual peppers)...Boil it all down in a crock pot...de bone and toss with a little oil in the fry pan (just enough to keep it from sticking) and you cook it just long enough to get that "cooked in askillet not boiled" edge to it and then either do up like enchiladas or tacos...you can't even tell it was boiled meat! Good stuff!


    OH! And you can turn it into broccoli cheese casserole too after a slow boiling...I use the stock I boiled out of the chicken to cook up my rice (I cheat with the boil in a bag rice) and then mix it all together with shredded cheese and broccoli ...mmmm....no one's the wiser it was boiled chicken...

    there's really a lot you can do...it just does take a little more time...but it's so good it's worth it!
     
  9. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Chillin' With My Peeps

    I culled at about 5 mos, and I baked them in those plastic roast bags and they were pretty good!

    Definitely more texture and way better taste! I baked mine at a fairly low temperature and for longer so that may have helped.

    My grandmother's family raised chickens when she was a child and they used to kill 'em and eat 'em on the same day... the secret was they fattened them up for a week or so beforehand. Also, modern meat just doesn't taste the same as it used to.
     
  10. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    7,951
    276
    331
    Aug 20, 2010
    Colmesneil,TX
    They'll be more tender also if you let them rest in the fridge for 3 days rather than just 24 hours.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by