Taste like Chicken(or Not)

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by AlabamaChickenHead, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. AlabamaChickenHead

    AlabamaChickenHead Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 30, 2008
    Ashville, AL
    I cannot seem to get a straight answer to this question, I ask 20 people and get 10 different answers.

    I am just starting my backyard flock and plan on using "dual" purpose birds. Some folks say that all chickens taste the same, some say its based on feed/health (ie free ranging vs. coop birds), some say that standard birds will never taste as good as the cornish crosses, some say they all taste the same, many say its in the genetics and doesnt matter what you feed them.

    I would love to hear from some folks who have ACTUALLY tasted different birds raised different ways.

    I want to stick to only one or two different breeds (Barred Rock, Buff Orpington most likely) if I feed the birds broiler feed (the ones I plan to eat) and just feed the layers, a layer feed, will I "taste" a difference or will the broiler feed just make the birds fill out better/faster?

    thanks
     
  2. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 13, 2008
    Sun City, California
    They taste different to me, particularly between the store and bird with a "normal" growth rate raised free range. The latter has more flavor, the store ones taste very "bland" to me.

    There DEFINITELY is a difference between store turkey and heritage grown on the range. Personally I think the heritages taste way better and they do have much more flavor. One thanksgivng, we had to cook extra turkey so we had one heritage from my flock and one from the store, cooked the same way (in a deep fryer, mm!). Everyone noticed the difference, and most of these people were "city folk" who wouldn't know a turkey if it pecked their butt. Most of them liked the heritage much better but one did like the store turkey better. (I suspect it may be due to the natural turkey tasting too "strange" to her.. not the usual store turkey taste she is used to)

    There's a reason I brought up turkeys, read somewhere the difference is due to the fact that the store turkeys essentially are babies, raised and bred to grow extremely rapidly and are butchered at an very early age while with the heritages you have to wait far longer before they finally reach "table weight" so the heritages are more mature and have more flavor in their flesh for this reason. I wonder if that's the similar case with broilers vs chickens from non-broiler breedings? Broilers ARE butchered extremely young.. a lot of "cornish game hens" nowdays are practically chicks- broilers butchered at even more extremely young age.

    I think another problem is texture. It seems nowdays people demand and expect very tender meat.. which is easy with animals butchered very young but with turkeys and chickens raised for several months and especially free range, the meat can be tougher.. that may be the reason some people object to natural. It's not much different from some city people freaking and refusing to eat eggs with orange or reddish yolks from free range eggs- they grew up on and expect yolks to be bright yellow.. which oddly is rather artificial.....
     
  3. AlabamaChickenHead

    AlabamaChickenHead Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 30, 2008
    Ashville, AL
    Thanks for the info Kev, I am all about raising my own and really would'nt care if there were not as "good" as store bought birds. I do however wish to get the best "potential" from the breed I choose.

    Does anyone have a recomendation on whether or not ot use the Broiler Feed for the birds I plan to eat?
     
  4. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 13, 2008
    Sun City, California
    I forgot to add that I despise the taste of cockerels once they've been already crowing and breeding hens.. they taste very bitter and just completely unplatable to me. Never again, any older roosters here will be sold or taken to auctions, period. Butchered right before this they are OK. My favorites are old hens.. very tough & stringy but I get around this by shredding them after grilling/cooking and use in tacos or burritos.. A lot of people say they slow cook older and tough birds, but I am not much of a cook so have not done that.

    Sorry, no personal experience with your other question.. hope someone else will chime in.
     
  5. Anne

    Anne Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 11, 2007
    Bellingham, WA
    My birds free-range, and they're not a commercial meat breed. By the time they're big enough to butcher, they're quite tough and taste slightly gamey. Not nearly as strong as, say, wild duck, but still... the flavor is there. It's definitely different from store-bought, that's for sure!
     
  6. chicken_boy_Kurt

    chicken_boy_Kurt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2008
    I think its different in how you raise them, possibly how you feed them and other things. I've even heard that age (not too much [​IMG]) makes them taste better because they've had more time to grow muscle tone (or something like that).
     
  7. menageriemama

    menageriemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2008
    Lake Nebagamon, WI
    To me, the flavor isnt the real difference, its the texture. Supermarket or confined birds are softer/flabbier/more tender (depending on who you ask.) I like a firmer bird, one who has lived it's life out and about in the sun. The flavor of that bird is slightly more chickeny than the factory bird. I think thats a good thing [​IMG]
     

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