What did we do wrong? -- first bird butchered not so great..

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by father-clucker, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. father-clucker

    father-clucker Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 12, 2010
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    Hi all..

    So one of the 13 month old hens was exceptionally noisy (for MANY months now -- waking up and wanting out at 5:15AM every day) and we didn't want to get in trouble with the neighbors so it was time last Saturday to fix the "problem"... So, I watched a few videos on Youtube and proceeded to try to find the main artery down the neck but didn't before making several cuts to no avail.. Eventually got it and had it dripping into a bowl with a little salt (to coagulate the blood).. Also did as suggested in the video and poked a knife through the upper pallet to sever the brain connections. Got the feathers off, did the flame thing to remove remaining hairs.etc.. My sister-in-law did the delicate gut removal without breaking any plumbing and all was good.. We thoroughly cleaned the birds insides, removed the head and feet and proceeded to brine it for about 1.5 hours before throwing it on the BBQ.

    I forgot to take into account that the bird was about room temps when it went on the grill causing the cooking time to be much lower -- after an hour the bird was ~180F.. Ouch!

    Anyway, we tried eating it but it was :

    1) Gamey tasting
    2) Very Tough -- particularly the white meat

    Later, my wife was talking to a cousin of hers (from the Philippines) that had done this before and she said it might be tough because it was a laying hen.. I later read somewhere that we didn't let the rigormortis complete and that all birds should be put in the fridge for at least a day before eating.. I also read that they may be tough because they get out and roam the yard daily..

    So.. What did we do wrong and should the birds be gamey tasting or tough if they're laying hens that are <2 years old? We do not currently have any designated meaties..

    Thx!
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
  2. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Quote:I've never tried grilling a layer hen, but that's about what I'd expect. They are usually slow cooked and deboned for stews, soups, casseroles, and such.
     
  3. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you usually eat store bought chicken, it's going to taste gamy due to what you're used to.
     
  4. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

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    1. old hen is going to have more flavor (some call gamey)
    2. the older the bird the lower and slower to cook - if you want the flavor and texture we are used to here.
    3. in my experience so far - the older the bird the longer the "rest" period for the texture we like in our house, for instance I would rest a 13 month old bird for 5-7 days before cooking.
     
  5. father-clucker

    father-clucker Out Of The Brooder

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    Southern California
    Quote:Ok.. That begs the question as to why store bought are not gamy tasting.. [​IMG]
     
  6. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

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    because store bought birds are only 6 weeks old
     
  7. father-clucker

    father-clucker Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Ahh.. Now we're getting somewhere.. So, if I want to BBQ a bird and prefer to minimize the gamy flavor, it's best to rest the bird for close to a week before using.. In terms of resting, is that just a matter of putting it in a closed bag and plopping her into the fridge at the normal fridge temps? Or is it best to have a temperature controlled environment (no kids opening/closing it every hour)?

    Also, for a bird <2 years old (which I guess is an OLD bird!), should BBQ'ing it be completely off the list of options for cooking it?

    One last question.. What's the oldest age at which we should not even bother with trying to eat one (and still have minimal gamy flavor)?

    Thx!
     
  8. father-clucker

    father-clucker Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 12, 2010
    Southern California
    Quote:Thanks.. I kinda thought that might be the case after I hit the "send" button.. Oh well..
     
  9. Carrie Lynn

    Carrie Lynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You might want to take the next chickens head off rather than putting it through several attempts to find the artery.
    Also, I've read not letting a bird rest will give you tough meat. Also agree that slow cooking is essential for older birds.
     
  10. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

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    ok lets see:

    I freeze mine before resting (becasue I butcher so many at once) then I defrost on the counter (against all the rules I know) then I rest in the frig (still in plastic) in a bowl for however many days - usually about 4 for us because they are younger birds, but I have gone as long as two weeks with no off taste at all. Remember grocery store birds are around a week old by the time you cook them.
    as for BBQing - really it's a matter of your taste - for us we like bigger thicker birds on the BBQ because old hens seem to dry out to much, but that's just our family. I like the flavor old hens add to my soup pot.

    We don't eat our pet birds but other than that no one is too old in our house.

    If you want to try BBQing again - I suggest resting the bird for several days, then brining it, then grilling with lower indirect heat or with the beer/juice can method.

    Good luck!!!
     

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