When to slaughter and how to cook non-meat cockerel

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by LikeTurkeys, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. LikeTurkeys

    LikeTurkeys Songster

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    Long title. :) I have a Dominique x Easter Egger cockerel, he's coming up on 9 weeks. What's the best age to slaughter and how should I cook him afterwards for best results?
    Thanks.
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    I slaughter cockerels at 13-16 weeks, before they start causing chaos and while still tender enough to grill for that crispy skinned deliciousness. Not much meat but the grilled bones make for some excellent stock. Anything older than that I pressure cook until meat is done and is saved aside then a couple more hours to get that bone broth.

    Resting the cleaned carcass in fridge for 48-72 hours for rigor to pass is essential for chewable meat from any bird(except maybe CX?). Tho no homegrown bird I've eaten, layer or meat breed, is as soft as a grocery bird, they are more 'toothsome'.
     
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  3. LikeTurkeys

    LikeTurkeys Songster

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    Hey, thanks for your replies! Well, he doesn't have any dual purpose in him, so I'll probably slaughter at 20 weeks and just cook long (bake, pressure cook? not sure yet). Glad to hear that they're tastier. Good info on resting the bird, thanks.
     
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  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Actually Dominique is dual purpose and Easter Eggers could be anything. I'd consider him as dual purpose. There are all kinds of ways to cook him, his age at butcher is the determining factor, along with your preferences.

    I can't talk Aart into trying this. Maybe you will and give me some feedback on how it works for you.

    Somewhere around 20 to 23 weeks, butcher him and cut him into serving pieces. Age him until rigor mortis has passed.

    Use a baking pot with a tight fitting lid, I use one of those red cuisinart pots. Rinse off the chicken pieces but do not pat dry. Coat in herbs. I typically use dried oregano and basil that I raise, dehydrate, and grind myself but you can use whatever herbs you think you will like. I put those in that pot without adding any liquid and bake on 250 Fahrenheit for about 3 to 3-1/2 hours. That is not a typo, 250 degrees F. Cook covered, you do not want the liquids to cook off.

    When you take it out you will probably find about a half cup or more liquid in the bottom. After de-fatting you can use this as broth. Be careful taking the meat out of the pot, it might fall off the bone. Use a slotted spoon. The meat on the bottom in that liquid might be too moist for you, I like it that way. If you wish you can put a few stalks of celery or carrots on the bottom to raise the meat up.

    If you decide to cook it this way I'd be interested in feedback. How did it work, how did you and your family like it? Was it that much work?

    When I butcher I save the back, neck, heart, clean the gizzard, and skin the feet to use to make broth. By blanching the feet you can twist the claws and what little spurs he has off, plus the skin peels off. That gets the feet clean enough for me. If you over blanche (or scald) the skin shreds instead of peels. I bring water to a boil then drop the feet in for 15 seconds, then dump that out in the sink to keep form overcooking the skin. I also save the bones from when I eat the chickens and the liquid from where I cooked it to use in broth. Broth takes some work but to me it is well worth the time.
     
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Send me one of those and I'll try it :D
     
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  6. LikeTurkeys

    LikeTurkeys Songster

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    Wow, that was so helpful. If we do that, then I'll definitely let you know! So cut into pieces right after slaughtering but before aging and cooking?
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    That's what I do but you can do it in any sequence that's comfortable and convenient for you.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    That's what I do....resting carcass, butchered or not, before cooking or freezing is vital IMO. But I'm not a slow cooker, on the grill before 16 weeks or in the pressure cooker.
     

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