What's up with the dark meat?

jbgettinchickens

In the Brooder
9 Years
Oct 17, 2010
12
1
22
Butchered Plymouth Rocks at 16 weeks old (boys). The white meat was delicious. Dark meat was tough/chewy. They lived free range lives and were fed organic feed with lots of kitchen scraps. So far dark meat prepared three ways: 1) in slow cooker for 8 hours --chicken cacciatore 2) whole chicken roasted in oven and 3) oven fried chicken. I was disappointed in all three methods with the slow cooker method better than the others. In my opinion the fried chicken was inedible (my husband, bless him, ate it). Did we wait too long to butcher? Is it the feed? Is this normal? Thanks in advance.
 

blueskylen

Songster
11 Years
Mar 3, 2008
682
6
151
WV
did you rest the meat in the frig for 3-4 days before preparing it? That will definitely make it more tender - did it last year on the 60 meaties that we raised and it made all of the difference in the texture.
 

SteveH

Songster
10 Years
Nov 10, 2009
3,392
13
191
West/Central IL
Quote:
Heritage breeds, especially males, and even more so when raised on free range, are going to have more "chew" in the muscle of the thigh and legs. They will taste differnt also; some would say better.

Fifty years ago, when I sat down to a meal of fried chicken cooked by my mother, it had been fried much differently than the fried chicken we eat today. It was rolled in flour, cooked in a black iron skillet with lard [which means lower temps], and covered over even lower heat towards the end; sometimes even finished in the oven in a covered pan. If you search "cooking heritage breeds" or something like that, you will probably find recipes for cooking chicken the way it was done before the commercial varieties were developed.
 
Last edited:

ShadyHoller

Chirping
9 Years
Sep 12, 2010
180
9
99
Willamette Valley
Before I got into raising meat chickens, I started out as a pheasant hunter. Now that's a bird that has gotten some use out of its leg muscles!

As stated by blueskylen, resting/hanging the carcasses for a couple or four days in the fridge or in a cold out-building will help them tender up considerably.

Also, brine does magic for getting the muscle proteins to relax and drawing water into the meat. Here's one thread that discusses similar topics: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=415950&p=1

You can find more threads like that here on BYC by using the search function.

And here's a brining resource: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/images/document/howto/ND01_ISBriningbasics.pdf

Finally
, if you ever have to eat an mean old wild pheasant, an ostrich, or a tough old barnyard rooster, you already hit on the best approach: long slow moist cooking. Crock pots are great, and you can get the same effect with a cast-iron dutch oven in the oven at 225 degrees for many hours.






I'm joking about the ostrich.
 

Neil Grassbaugh

Songster
11 Years
Sep 1, 2008
741
20
151
Quote:
Heritage breeds, especially males, and even more so when raised on free range, are going to have more "chew" in the muscle of the thigh and legs. They will taste differnt also; some would say better.

Fifty years ago, when I sat down to a meal of fried chicken cooked by my mother, it had been fried much differently than the fried chicken we eat today. It was rolled in flour, cooked in a black iron skillet with lard [which means lower temps], and covered over even lower heat towards the end; sometimes even finished in the oven in a covered pan. If you search "cooking heritage breeds" or something like that, you will probably find recipes for cooking chicken the way it was done before the commercial varieties were developed.

Do the right thing man! Lay down and die for heavens sake!
"rolled in flour" My gawd think of that poison gluten you ate!
A "black iron skillet" for hells sake! HEAVY METAL!
"lard" now that is just to much!!! Cholesteral, bad omegas whatever, maybe even Mad pig disease
And finished at "lower heat" think of all the potential for bacterial growth.

You were lucky- my mother took all that yuckie stuff left in the pan, you know the gluten, the fats, the cholesteral, added milk and made gravey from it to feed to us. Well that was probably better for us than the mashed potatoes being laced with butter.

Amazing that we have both lived so long.
 

stuckinthecity

Crowing
12 Years
Apr 25, 2009
1,026
121
301
Quote:
Heritage breeds, especially males, and even more so when raised on free range, are going to have more "chew" in the muscle of the thigh and legs. They will taste differnt also; some would say better.

Fifty years ago, when I sat down to a meal of fried chicken cooked by my mother, it had been fried much differently than the fried chicken we eat today. It was rolled in flour, cooked in a black iron skillet with lard [which means lower temps], and covered over even lower heat towards the end; sometimes even finished in the oven in a covered pan. If you search "cooking heritage breeds" or something like that, you will probably find recipes for cooking chicken the way it was done before the commercial varieties were developed.

Do the right thing man! Lay down and die for heavens sake!
"rolled in flour" My gawd think of that poison gluten you ate!
A "black iron skillet" for hells sake! HEAVY METAL!
"lard" now that is just to much!!! Cholesteral, bad omegas whatever, maybe even Mad pig disease
And finished at "lower heat" think of all the potential for bacterial growth.

You were lucky- my mother took all that yuckie stuff left in the pan, you know the gluten, the fats, the cholesteral, added milk and made gravey from it to feed to us. Well that was probably better for us than the mashed potatoes being laced with butter.
Amazing that we have both lived so long.

Just sounds like good ole grandma's cookin
smile.png
No, but, I feel you. I think back in the day, since the men worked so hard, they actually needed all that fat!
 

Bossroo

Songster
11 Years
Jun 15, 2008
1,450
30
171
Quote:
Do the right thing man! Lay down and die for heavens sake!
"rolled in flour" My gawd think of that poison gluten you ate!
A "black iron skillet" for hells sake! HEAVY METAL!
"lard" now that is just to much!!! Cholesteral, bad omegas whatever, maybe even Mad pig disease
And finished at "lower heat" think of all the potential for bacterial growth.

You were lucky- my mother took all that yuckie stuff left in the pan, you know the gluten, the fats, the cholesteral, added milk and made gravey from it to feed to us. Well that was probably better for us than the mashed potatoes being laced with butter.
Amazing that we have both lived so long.

Just sounds like good ole grandma's cookin
smile.png
No, but, I feel you. I think back in the day, since the men worked so hard, they actually needed all that fat!

Well garsh ! Sounds just like my grandmothers' and mother's and my wife's grandmothers' and mother's and now my wife's cookin'. They all reached or exceeded the century mark or nearly so. Beats me how they did it with all of that bad fatty, cholesterol ladden cookin' and eatin'.
idunno.gif
I have been bustin' bronks, buckin' bales o' hay, plowin' fields, and killin' chickins for way over half a century. Sein' I just finished my breakfast at 5:00 am this mornin' of 6 slices o' bakin', 3 cackleberries, a shortstack o' pancakes smothered in butter ,topped with blueberries and maple syrup, drowned with a couple mugs of coffee with heavy doses of cream.
tongue2.gif
I guess I better go saddle up Buttercup and go round up some doggies for the next half century seeing that rockin' in the rockin' chair ain't on our horrison.
th.gif
 

bigredfeather

Songster
11 Years
Oct 1, 2008
2,194
47
211
Yorkshire, Ohio
Quote:
Just sounds like good ole grandma's cookin
smile.png
No, but, I feel you. I think back in the day, since the men worked so hard, they actually needed all that fat!

Well garsh ! Sounds just like my grandmothers' and mother's and my wife's grandmothers' and mother's and now my wife's cookin'. They all reached or exceeded the century mark or nearly so. Beats me how they did it with all of that bad fatty, cholesterol ladden cookin' and eatin'.
idunno.gif
I have been bustin' bronks, buckin' bales o' hay, plowin' fields, and killin' chickins for way over half a century. Sein' I just finished my breakfast at 5:00 am this mornin' of 6 slices o' bakin', 3 cackleberries, a shortstack o' pancakes smothered in butter ,topped with blueberries and maple syrup, drowned with a couple mugs of coffee with heavy doses of cream.
tongue2.gif
I guess I better go saddle up Buttercup and go round up some doggies for the next half century seeing that rockin' in the rockin' chair ain't on our horrison.
th.gif


yuckyuck.gif

You guys are cracking me up.
 

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