Tough meat....need suggestions for more tender dinners

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by kathleengp, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. kathleengp

    kathleengp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    I have only butchered 3 birds - 2 roosters each between 12 and 18 months and one 5 week old duck. The roosters I did expect to be tough. I cooked one long and slow into chicken soup and it was ok. It sat 2 days in fridge after butcher. The next roo sat 3 days and I threw it on the grill. I am telling you it was the toughest stuff imaginable! My son and I had to fight to gnaw it off the bone!

    So last week I had an owl attack one of my 5 week old ducks in the night. He survived but was not able to move around and did not look like he would make it. I don't know the breed - I think a Rouen mix. These were ducklings I got cheap intended for meat - all mixed breed. So I butchered the duckling and ate it on the grill the next night (so about 30-32 hours in the fridge). I was so looking forward to a tender meal and it was still pretty tough! What am I doing wrong?

    I butcher with cuts to the jugular, they're contained in a cone and it's a pretty peaceful process, they are fed unmedicated chick starter or game starter until 5 months and then those roos were on layer. I thought that duckling would be so tender and it was way better than the roos but still pretty tough. Any hints for tender meat? I have 50 Freedom Rangers now 10 days old and I want to make sure I get nice dinners from them and not 50 tough stringy birds!
  2. Urban Chaos

    Urban Chaos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 9, 2011
    crock pot
  3. La Mike

    La Mike (Always Slightly Off)

    Nov 20, 2009
    Soak them in vinegar or a salt brine and that should help. You need to get the enzymes working in your favor [​IMG]
  4. Okie Amazon

    Okie Amazon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2011
    Midwest City
    Perhaps it's your grilling technique. Coals should be white-hot when you put the meat on. Sear both sides (about 5-6 minutes on each side, moving it to a fresh spot on the grill, then move meat up away from the coals to cook the insides more slowly. Searing the outsides holds in the juices. Not being a duck cook, I believe duck is dry to begin with. Maybe roasting in the oven in a baking bag might be a better method for duck.
  5. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2010
    Yep, crock pot, pressure cooker or else cook it very slow 300 f or less with lots of moisture. Grilling is not the best option unless you are real patient and can do it with lower indirect heat like you would for cooking ribs.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  6. La Mike

    La Mike (Always Slightly Off)

    Nov 20, 2009
    I wrap duck in bacon [​IMG]
    Keeps em nice and juicy but remember duck should not be cooked well done either [​IMG]
  7. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  8. kathleengp

    kathleengp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    What great cooking ideas! Thanks so much. I just caught one of my 14 week old Marans roosters from a straight run and quarantined him. I'm going to experiment !

    Thanks :)
  9. RoosterGeek

    RoosterGeek Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 31, 2010
    Lebanon, TN
    For older birds (Roosters) I absolutely LOVE my Lodge 7 quart dutch oven. It even has a lid with spikes that helps baste the bird as it cooks. My birds are so much better after getting one of those.

    My old birds come out of that dutch oven amazing every time.[​IMG]:drool

    I also put them in my crock pot which gives me stock and lots of burrito and casserole meat.

    If I put something in the crock pot, I do not brine it as very little moisture escapes the container.

    I don't always brine my birds, but usually on the older ones.

    For some of my "harvest" I cut them up into leg quarters, breast, tenders, etc and package and then freeze. I then let the meat thaw and relax for a few days in my refrigerator before cooking.

    For your duck, you might have cooked it too high for too long. I second Okie Amazon.

    Gordon Ramsay has a good quick video on how to cook duck breast :

    I wouldn't worry about your FR. Mine were pretty awesome.

    I hope this helps!
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  10. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Young duck should be tender. If it is home raised correctly, duck should be quite lean. That means you have to be very careful not to over-cook. It dries out easily.

    It's not like cooking chicken where underdone chicken tastes weird. I like duck cooked about medium.

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