Tough meat...?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Skittlez, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. Skittlez

    Skittlez Songster

    Jan 29, 2010
    The last few dual purpose birds we have eaten have been tough. How can I make the next birds more tender. My birds tractor range 5-8 hours a day, at least 5 days a week. Then I feed them meat crumbles. Should I change the feed to something better? I don't feed a lot of greens or treats, should I add some to their diet?

    I also noticed, most people dress their birds sooner than I do. I usually have to wait until they are 24 weeks or more. Otherwise they are too bony. The breeds are RIR, Barred Rock, and will be adding some giants soon. Should I be looking for a different eating breed? I really don't want to do Cornish. I usually keep a few hens and eat the roos.

    I will be incubating my own eggs next year and am looking for a tender, juicy bird.
  2. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I think it helps to let the birds rest in the refrigerator for a couple of days before cooking. The time allows the rigor mortis to pass from the muscle. Also, try cooking the birds at lower heat for a longer time and add lots of moisture. I butcher a lot of DP & mixed-breed roos, letting them grow out as much as I can, processing them between 18-24 weeks. There has never been a tough one. Usually I simmer them in herbed water over low heat for about 2 hours until the meat is falling off the bones. Then I pick off the meat & freeze it in packets for later use. If I roast one whole I'll use an oven bag or a covered roasting pan, and add lots of lemon & veggies, again using low heat.

    Hope your next ones are much better! [​IMG]
  3. cjdmashley

    cjdmashley Songster

    Jul 29, 2010
    we have had the same problem and resting the meat in the fridge is the best way we've found. Expecially with DP I'd say at least 48 hours in the fridge. We did 4 this weekend and they probably could have used one more day to sit. Some say 2-4 days rest.
  4. With older birds it's how you cook them also. We cut them up and let them rest in the fridge for 4 or 5 days. The breasts you can cook on the grill if you do them fast and don't over cook them. The thighs we debone and you can cook the same way. They drumsticks and the rest slow cook.

  5. noahsark

    noahsark In the Brooder

    Aug 8, 2010
    Klamath Falls, Oregon
    We also just finished with a batch of heritage birds..same problem. As the folks on here say, it makes all the difference resting them and letting the rigor mortis relax..Its kind of gross when you think of it, isnt "resting" them technically letting them rot...aaahhh...anyway, Ive read on other sights that the heritage breeds are not s tender, perhaps because of the time it takes to raise..We are now raising a batch of freedom rangers..They dont grow super fast like the cornish, and they supposedly taste subherb..Read the posts you can find on here about freedom rangers and perhaps try them next..JM hatchery sells them..
    To the post before everyone says "low" temp...but how low like 300 or 325, or lower?
  6. I cooked some legs & thighs at 325F with mushrooms, onions and corn last night in a dutch oven. It was tender as can be.

  7. blueskylen

    blueskylen Songster

    Mar 3, 2008
    if you have older birds to process, you can can them, and then when you open the jars, the meat is really tender. i do that with some of the Cornish X legs, just take them out of the jar, bread and brown them in the skillet, and they are wonderful.
  8. noahsark

    noahsark In the Brooder

    Aug 8, 2010
    Klamath Falls, Oregon
    Is 16 weeks considered an older bird if its a heritage?
  9. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    How long do you let your birds rest in the fridge?

    I do not do cornish crosses either. I am a dual purpose girl and like to process my cockerels around 20 weeks – could be longer, even up to a year and I do not have “tough” meat – my birds do have texture. Dual purpose birds vs. Cornish crosses are like steak vs. veal. Steak is muscle that has been allowed to grow, age and be used. Veal is muscle that is baby young, baby tender without much use.

    I like to let my birds age in the fridge for 3 to 5 days before I do anything with them – cooking or freezing. I have left older (year old) roosters in the fridge for 7 days without any problem – no smell or decay. And my birds always smell better than grocery birds.

    This is a great article discussing chicken and cooking – not Cornish crosses, but dual purpose birds – also discusses ages and cooking methods.

    feed flock raiser - which is a 20% protein and I mix my own whole grain scratch that has no corn in it. I do not feed extra corn to my birds - there is enough in the flock raiser I feel. Generally at 20 weeks, my processed birds are around 4 to 5 pounds.
  10. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: