tough birds

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by hunter1hall, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. hunter1hall

    hunter1hall Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2009
    Mackville, Kentucky
    I decided to have fried chicken for dinner last night. SO i went and processed a 6 mo. old rooster. Everything was perfect until I tried to eat it. It was tough as nails. What can I do to soften these birds up a bit?
  2. CedarRidgeChicks

    CedarRidgeChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2009
    Adair Co.Ky
    Rest 24-48 hrs in ice/salt were eating rigor mortis meat..I even do this with the meaties as well as all wild game.
  3. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 19, 2009
    This is something I do not understand. For the record, I always rest my newly butchered meat. I don't brine my chickens, though. I just loosely cover them and let them sit in the fridge for a day or two. But when I was a kid, I can distinctly remember, when company dropped in unexpectedly, my aunt going out to the chicken house and bringing in a freshly killed chicken for Sunday dinner. She would cook it up right then. I don't remember it being tough. And when I was staying in Mexico, often the chicken dinner was still running around until very shortly before mealtime. Could the fact that the chicken was cooked before rigor mortis had a chance to set in make a difference? Or is my mind gone and the meat was tough and I just don't remember? Anyone know?
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    If you get it cooked asap, before the legs go stiff, supposedly it will still be tender. However, usually it takes long enough to get thing cleaned up the legs are stiff and you have to wait and let it rest. That said, a slow cooking method, a bird that is under 20 weeks old, and a very hungry stomach, will all make a tough bird not tough at all. If you want a fried or grilled bird, best let it rest, as fast cooking = tough.
  5. WalkingWolf

    WalkingWolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2009
    North Carolina
    Quote:When my parents cooked a chicken culled that day it was left to sit out without refrigeration. Meat will go through rigor much faster when not chilled but this is not recommended, though in most third world countries meat is never refrigerated. And used to be in some countries fowl was left to hang for days before plucking and cooking.
  6. Mrs.Puff

    Mrs.Puff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2008
    Southern Iowa
    The reason you "hang" a bird or let it "rest" is that the enzymes in the meat begin to break down the fibers, which make it more tender. This is done with all kinds of game and domestic meat, and is why "Aged" beef is all the rage, and is very tender.
  7. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    I think another thing is how you cook it, look at how your parents / grandparents cooked meals. Mine did long and slow or fast and hot. The dutch oven was most often used for the long and slow. For the fast cook they fried everything.

    Steve in NC
  8. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    I don't think I've ever been so hungry as to not be able to tell the difference between a tough bird and a tender one.

    A 6 month old bird is usually going to be tough, even if you let it rest a few days. You can try brining, marinating in buttermilk, etc, all of which does help, but even so, they are best cooked in a crock pot or pressure cooker, or really low temp-slow roasting in something that keeps it from drying out, like a clay chicken cooker. It doesn't have to be covered in liquid, it just has to be kept from drying out during long cooking.

    If you want to fry one, you need a young bird, (12 weeks or less) OR, you can brown it, and finish it in a pressure cooker to get it tender, then once the pressure drops enough to remove the lid, you can crisp it back up if you need to. I read the instructions in my pressure canner book, but haven't tried the pressure-cooking method with fried chicken yet. My canner takes so long to seal and build pressure, I'd probably scorch it, but if you have a smaller, regular pressure cooker, rather than a canner, it would probably work fine.

    I suspect that pressure cooking is the trick to those just-butchered birds. Years ago, I too, had a wonderful chicken dinner in Mexico, in some little roadside cafe set up in a families home. I'm pretty sure that bird was running around in the yard when we drove up. The meal was prepared pretty quickly, it's possible they may have had the bird in the fridge already, I really don't know. If my Spanish had been better, I'd have asked them. It was one of the tastiest birds I ever had, tender and moist, too. And some of the best fried potatoes, and homemade refried beans I ever had, too. That little casa got 5 stars in my book.

    I know my parents cooked up older birds, and they were tender, and I know they used a pressure cooker often, too, for various things. I don't specifically remember them using it with chicken, but they very well could have. I can't ask them, they aren't around anymore.
  9. WalkingWolf

    WalkingWolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2009
    North Carolina
    Another point to is Grandma's chicken was mostly grain fed, and we all know the difference grain fed makes with beef. Though the meat is much more fatty it is also more tender.
  10. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    My Grandparents chickens free ranged, the only extra's they got were table and garden scraps.

    We have cooked year old plus chicken breasts on the grill from cull roosters, cut them in half longways if they are to thick, cook them fast and don't over cook. Debone the thighs and you can do the same thing. If anybody is close to us come over for a cook out and see how it comes out. There hasn't been any store bought poultry cooked here in ages. A pressure cooker isn't needed unless you are in a hurry, we always pressure cook the turkey legs at 15 pounds for 15 minutes and it's fall off the bone tender. that meat we use for tacos, casseroles etc.

    I still say it's knowing your meat and how to cook it.

    Steve in NC

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