What's the best tasting non-hybrid?

Red Fan

Chirping
12 Years
Dec 4, 2007
29
2
75
Ohio
I started with Rhode Island Reds because my initial research said they were a good "multi-purpose" bird. I bought 1 rooster and 5 hens which grew into 2 roosters and 4 hens. So I ate the OLD rooster and kept the young one (a mistake I won't make again.) Now I'm ready to expand. I would like to raise some for the express purpose of eating them. I'd like to avoid chickens that are bred for rapid growth because I don't want to deal with leg problems, over feeding worries and such. I know it's what I've been buying in the stores for years but now that I've seen how they're raised it just doesn't seem natural. I'm not passing a moral judgement here either. I can free range my chickens but I'm not trying to feed a hundred million people. So here's my question.

Have any of you tried several different breeds? Did you notice a difference in taste? If so, what breed tastes best?
 

back2basics

In the Brooder
12 Years
Dec 21, 2007
43
0
22
NW of Maybell, CO
Red Fan,

I am new to this, but I have 25 Dark Cornish in a brooder, 1 week old. Not suppose to be as prone to the leg issues as the Cornish X, but still fast growers.

I am looking forward to the taste test.

Have also seen posts here about Freedom Rangers, which are suppose to be tasty.

Good Luck : )
 

silkiechicken

Staff PhD
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
21,494
975
393
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
Moved to the meat bird section.


I find that the flavor of a bird is determined by age rather than breed. Even a silkie tastes the same as a RIR if they are both butchered at the same age. At least I can't tell the difference.
 

Cuban Longtails

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Sep 20, 2007
6,026
33
263
Northeast Texas
If you're wanting a lot of meat per bird, I'd recommend the dark cornish (or any of the pure cornish breeds). I've read that the Dorkings make a great dual purpose, but I don't have any personal experience with them.

I've eaten Dark Cornish, RIR, Cubalaya, and Ancona at about the age of 10 months. They're all very good, but the Cornish yielded the most meat. We were even able to fry the breast meat, tender & juicy (I don't recommend frying the leg meat, tough & chewy). We always let the meat age in the fridge before we cook it or store it in the freezer.
 

greyfields

Crowing
12 Years
Mar 15, 2007
4,889
31
261
Washington State
"Dual purpose" just means 'meatier than a Leghorn' and I doubt you will find them satisfying. As far as taste, it's not to do with the breed but the lifestyle and food the bird enjoyed (or suffered). Home grown farm chicken is:

a) stringier in texture, becasue the muscles were actually used
b) 'dryer' or 'less moist' because they are not 'marinated' or injected with brine before packaging
c) richer tasting, some may say a bit gamier

I think once you've eaten it, though, you can't really go back to insipid commercial chicken which is just wet and flavorless.

It is by far the best advice to raise a crop of broilers specifically for eating, then freeze them and use as needed. With vacuum sealing, chicken keeps very well in the freezer.

There are some alternatives to Cornish crosses out there, and some hatcheries market "slow broilers" with slower growth rates. There are also Freedom Ragners available which are bred specifically for free ranging and organic production. I'd recommend you go down this route. Breeding dual purpose birds, then eating the roosters, is a time consuming and un-economic persuit.
 

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