tough meat

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by tnrnolan, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. tnrnolan

    tnrnolan New Egg

    Sep 17, 2015
    I have been raising chickens for 8 years and almost every time we butcher, the meat is tough. Am I butchering the wrong kind of chicken? Not processing fast enough? Are they too old/young? We've butchered Brahmas, wellsummers, and black marans. Really just any good size rooster. We typically butcher at 7-8 mths. We want to eventually sell to the public but there's no way I'm selling tough meat. Please help!
  2. Coffee 1st

    Coffee 1st Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 31, 2015
    do you let your chickens have a rest period before you cook them... they do have to go through the rigor mortise stage.
    most people put them in a cooler with ice or put them in the fridge for 2 days then freeze or cook them...
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
  3. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2014
    How are you cooking them?
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    The chickens you buy at the store are 6 to 8 WEEKS old. Your cockerels are 7 to 8 MONTHS old. That’s the difference. Veal (baby calf) is much more tender and much less tasty than an old beef. Suckling pig is much more tender and much less flavorful than an older hog. Baby chicks you buy at the grocery are much more tender and much less flavorful than a seven moth old cockerel.

    How are you cooking them is an excellent question. The older meat gets (pork, beef, or poultry) the more you need to adjust how you cook it. You cannot fry a seven month old cockerel, it will be tough and dry out. You need to cook them slowly and with moisture. There are some threads about how to cook chicken at the start of the meat bird forum. It might be to your benefit to read those.

    If you want to have chicken like you get at the store, you need to raise the broilers that you harvest at 6 to 8 weeks old. That may be what your customers want. It’s what they are probably used to.
    1 person likes this.
  5. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 28, 2008
    Ridgerunner said it all. If you want grocery-style tender chicken to sell then you need to raise broiler chicks, not dual purpose cockerels. Older birds cannot be cooked the same way as young chickens, and often results in tough meat.

    I will say around here there is a large immigrant population that prefers older cockerels/stewing hens for meat (even silkies), so maybe you could find a niche market for dual purpose birds and older hens. They do make outstanding stock.
  6. MysteriaSdrassa

    MysteriaSdrassa Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2015
    Central Wisconsin
    As usuall I have to agree with Ridgerunner,,, 7-8 month old chicken is going to be tough,, no matter what kind of bird it is. To many people make the mistake of thinking they have to raise the bird up to it's full weight, when in all honesty you are just wasting money. Even dual purpose birds that take a bit longer to raise should still be butchered at 12 to 16 weeks. After that, the weight gain slows way down and they eat more and you just start throwing money at them.
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I just butchered dual purpose birds at 14 weeks. I kept them in the fridge for 4 days after processing, and then froze two and cooked one. It was the best chicken so far that I have processed.
  8. lindalouly

    lindalouly Grd Ctrl 2 Major Tom

    I would recommend to read up on the processing of dual birds since they are a far different meat than meat birds. They were created for good meat from 18 weeks till two years... (Jersey giants are a good example of this) a bird used to compete with the thanksgiving turkey... Are you bleeding it??? Are you killing it with it being stressed for a long time before death??? Are they free range and run freely to be able to built a tougher meat and muscle??? Good luck!!!! If all else fail make coque vahn
  9. varidgerunner

    varidgerunner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 16, 2013
    Age it a week in the fridge, it will be nice and tender, and have lots of flavor.
  10. Whodat

    Whodat New Egg

    Dec 26, 2012
    Crockpot that rascal until it falls off the bone. I need to start letting mine sit in the fridge a while but I'm usually to eager to recoup that feed money.

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