Tough as "Nails" !

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Our Roost, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. Our Roost

    Our Roost Songster

    Jan 13, 2011
    ScottsVille, michigan
    We processed ten of our birds that were 15 months old approximately last week. Nice fat globules running through the meat and the fyer parts were looking tasty. A few battered legs, thighs, and breasts went into the frying pan to get browned up and then finished baking in the oven, tent covered in a baking dish for a little over an hour at 350 degrees.
    Shoe leather quality and unedible was what we ended up with. The meat was so tough we couldn't even eat it or cut it. 2 days later the crock pot came to our salvation as we slow cooked more chicken in a tomato, bacon and cheese sauce that was delicious over spaghetti. The chicken meat finally broke down and fell off the bone cooking it low and slow. It appears we are going to be eating a lot of chicken soup and slow cooked meals from the birds we raised for meat and eggs.
    Apparently we may have not followed some important guidlenes when it comes to raising birds for meat. The birds are fed with corn mash and granular brand name feeds of the best quality. They are not free ranged but have a huge run area. Tender succulent fried chicken is what we expected but maybe set our hopes too high from standard dual purpose birds.
    If there are some good guidelines to follow for processing birds I would be glad to hear about what we did wrong or should follow in the future. I know the first thing that will be said is to buy cornish hens. Thats not really the answer we are looking for but may be the reality of what we need to do.
  2. loveoutdoor

    loveoutdoor In the Brooder

    Aug 6, 2013
    North Dakota
    You'll find great results by using the search bar on many different butchering/curing views and ideas.

    Off the top of my head..

    After butcher let sit in fridge for 48hr or so till joints are flexible, and soak in a brine always helps. Slow cook anything older than say 15-20 weeks depending on your preference.

    Your first cooking method probably dried them out a bit too much even if it was covered, unless it was covered with bacon!

    Good luck!
  3. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

    Feb 10, 2008
    Eastern NC
    at 15 months low and slow cooking is the way to go for the legs and thighs. The breast fillets you can cook hot and fast and they come out good, a few minutes each side on the grill until done. If you overcook they will be tough. Also, for the leg quarters and body of the birds a pressure cooker works wonders. 15 minutes at 15 pounds and the meat is falling off the bone. We save the stock and you can use the meat in taco's or in a casserole.
  4. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    Agreed. To get a decent roasting/grilling bird, you need to process at a much younger age. Older birds have fantastic flavor, but have to be cooked long and moist to make them edible.
  5. Our Roost

    Our Roost Songster

    Jan 13, 2011
    ScottsVille, michigan
    All good responses and I thank you for the feedback. I thought age played a big part in it along with how it was cooked but am now convinced it does.
    Unfortunately my birds weren't fully developed at the 12 to 16 week old age and I waited until this spring to have them processed. They fattened up this spring after a long hard winter in the coop and never gave thought to their age having anything to do with the older the tougher phrase much used by deer hunters and such. I'll have to break out the cookbook and find some slow cooking recipes. I have already used a few roosters for chicken broth and made some awesome flavored soup with homemade noodles and drop dumplings. Trust that they wont go to waste and be well used. Thanks again!
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    A frying chicken is usually around 3 pounds, dressed. That's a fairly young bird. My Grandma said to use a rooster not older than 4 months for a fryer. Yep, they're small, but tender (so she said, I never tried).

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