We let them go too long.


Apr 3, 2018
We had to move out of a rental into our new house, it was easier to keep the meat birds alive then to find time to butcher them. They are still kicking, the hens are laying now, the 4 surprise Roos are locked up, getting butchered this week. My question is, I know rooster meat is typically tough, we are looking at grinding up this meat with some pork bellies and using it that way, should I brine before grinding?


Smiling. I'm up to something.
May 19, 2017
Swamps of Texas
Laying, so 5 months-ish. MIL loves rooster meat. If cooked right, it isn't tough but stringy. Strong flavor but enjoyable.

Cook it low and slow. All day gumbo. Chicken soup. Chicken and dumplings. All good.

Best wishes!
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Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
There is some confusion here. The "4 surprise roos" implies they are not Cornish X or Rangers but some other type of bird. Could be bantam, could be dual purpose, we just don't know, but that should not matter. "the hens are laying" implies at least five months of age, likely a little more. I assume the OP is only talking about butchering the four cockerels, not the pullets, though you could do pullets too.

CrzyChikinlady, to answer your specific question, since you are planning on grinding them and mixing them with pork to make sausage I don't think you have to brine them.

At 5 to 6 months of age the cockerels will have gone through hormonal changes that will cause the meat to have a stronger taste. Some of us prefer that flavor, some don't. That's a personal preference. Depending on how you spice that sausage you might not even notice. Age will also have caused the meat to get a bit stringy. It happens with pullets too but it's more noticeable with cockerels. Grinding should take care of that.

Five months of age is the time I prefer to butcher my dual purpose cockerels. They are too old to fry or grill, but there are still some ways to cook them where they are still quite tender. At that age they need to be cooked slowly and with moisture unless you use a pressure cooker. I like to bake mine in a tightly covered pan with a few herbs at 250 degrees F for about 3 to 3-1/2 hours. I don't add water but when I rinse the meat I do not shake the water off. The liquid I get makes a great broth too. But at that age you can make Coq au Vin, chicken and dumplings, soups or stews. A secret is to never bring to to a full boil but keep it at a slow simmer.

But this is all personal preference. I think your idea of making a sausage by grinding it with pork bellies is a great idea. You should enjoy it.

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