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 Post subject: Tough chicken meat
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:08 pm 
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Dapper Duck
Dapper Duck
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Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:59 pm
Posts: 24
Hi,

After some advice. I killed 2 young roosters today, just started to crow.
I killed them this morning and ate them tonight for dinner, I did them in a tomato based casserole/stew. This was to be a trial as I am hoping to start breeding table birds, if I can get buy in from my family. The 2x birds killed where a Plymouth Rock, and a Wyandotte cross Plymouth Rock.
My plan would be to breed Sussex hens with an Indian Game rooster.

Feedback from all is that the meat was tough, one bird in particular felt tough before I cooked it.

Can anyone offer advice as to how to get our meat more tender?
Would leaving it refrigerated longer help?

Thanks
Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Tough chicken meat
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:22 pm 
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Wise Wyandotte
Wise Wyandotte

Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:10 pm
Posts: 4578
Location: SE Qld
The faster the bird grows the more tender.

Take care that the bird is calm and rested before slaughter.

Allow the cleaned bird to set in the fridge overnight.

The acid in tomato can make meat tougher, so put them in later.


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 Post subject: Re: Tough chicken meat
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:24 pm 
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Ol' Bustard
Ol' Bustard

Joined: Sun May 15, 2011 4:53 pm
Posts: 1159
Location: MIRBOO in Gippsland, VICTORIA
The mistake you made was to eat them tonight. When you process your own birds, you need to pop them in the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours, preferably 48. This relaxes the meat and allows them to be as soft as they can be.

Even if you process and cryovac your birds, you need to rest them in a cold fridge.

Linz :)

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 Post subject: Re: Tough chicken meat
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:48 am 
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Phoenix
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Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:19 pm
Posts: 8325
Location: Gold Coast QLD
Hi StevieG,

last year, we did our own boys for the first time too, wanting to do the river cottage thing of growing most of our own food, it was a good learning experience....the first one we cooked fairly soon after processing, the same night as we were excited to try it - it was tough; after some help here- the second sat in the fridge on a plate and covered with a clean tea towel (changed every day) for 2 days, it was a very tender and tasty wyandotte roast.


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 Post subject: Re: Tough chicken meat
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:30 am 
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Champion Bird
Champion Bird

Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:26 pm
Posts: 974
Location: Tasmania
Yet to try my own meat :hiding but I've heard you shouldn't let the cockerels run around too much. I know this defeats the purpose of having free range poultry but when you think of how Bresse are raised and finished in small cages it must improve the quality of the meat.


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 Post subject: Re: Tough chicken meat
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:05 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
Old Mother Goose

Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 7:15 pm
Posts: 6769
artemis wrote:
Yet to try my own meat :hiding but I've heard you shouldn't let the cockerels run around too much. I know this defeats the purpose of having free range poultry but when you think of how Bresse are raised and finished in small cages it must improve the quality of the meat.


The reason that some suggest not to allow them to run around too much is to have high conversion of feed to body weight more than for taste purposes.

I prefer to allow them to run around as much as they like & eat all the grass they want. The difference in sinewy muscle when you allow them to run about & do their usual activities is well worth it... far more tasty ! We only eat the occasional rooster from batches of chicks raised in the backyard, so can afford to do that.

If you're going for cost savings, then the less you let them run about, the more the feed they eat will sit on them as fat or 'lighter' muscle.


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 Post subject: Re: Tough chicken meat
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:09 pm 
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Phoenix
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Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:19 pm
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Location: Gold Coast QLD
Thats so true Winglet, ours run round, eat lots of grass-grasshoppers-silverbeet in my garden etc and the flavour is way better than anything ive ever bought from a supermarket or even the organic shop down the road....tastiest bird ever - and not fatty :biggrin:


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 Post subject: Re: Tough chicken meat
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:21 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
Golden Phoenix

Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:39 am
Posts: 10116
Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
If they're not out of rigor mortis ("stiffness of death"), they can be practically inedible unless cooked really, really, really slowly. Apparently if you can get them cooking before they go into rigor, you're ok - I really must try that sometime, now I can process a chook from whoa to go in about 10mins (rather than the 2 hours the first one took!!).

They go into rigor about 15-20mins after death. You can tell when the drumstick no longer moves easily in the hip. You now need to wait until that hip movement is smooth and soft again. This can be anywhere from 24 hours to 3 days, depending on the temperature they're sitting in.

I've run some (VERY) cautious experiments and am pretty confident in saying that the higher the resting temperature, the quicker they come of of rigor. So going in the fridge from immediately after processing or after defrosting, I find I need up to three days (so if I process on Sunday, I won't be eating until at least Wednesday). If I leave it overnight (say in the laundry, which stays relatively cool - let's say 14-16C overnight) and then refrigerate, I'm good to eat Tuesday.

If I were to leave it out for a whole day, it would probably be 24 hours. However, in the hot Australian climate, that's really risky, and I cannot recommend it.

We do have a wine fridge now, however, bought for curing meat (it's actually too hot for wine!). It keeps a nice regular 12C and is obviously fly-proof. I might try resting a chook at that temperature and see how long it takes.

Note - if we're not planning to eat a chook within a week of processing, we freeze as soon as they're cleaned and done. Frozen chook still needs to be rested, and of course you need to add defrosting time. I'm finding defrosting overnight in the laundry, then resting in the fridge, works fine. I managed to speed up the process by taking the bird out of the fridge on the second night and leaving overnight; we could have cooked it that evening, no problems.

The exception is when poaching or making stock. I put frozen birds directly into the stockpot and the resulting poached meat is fine for use in stir-fries, risottos, pasta sauces, etc. (Tonight's dinner being evidence :) ).


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 Post subject: Re: Tough chicken meat
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:48 pm 
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Wise Wyandotte
Wise Wyandotte

Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:10 pm
Posts: 4578
Location: SE Qld
The other thing you can do to help reduce dryness and toughness is to brine the bird. Basically you soak it in a salt water solution overnight before roasting slowly. You want a solution made up of one part salt to 20 parts water to make the brine.


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 Post subject: Re: Tough chicken meat
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:02 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
Golden Phoenix

Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:39 am
Posts: 10116
Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
I'm looking to start smoking and curing; brining is part of that. Wonder what happens if you brine when still in rigor?

The Leggie x we ate tonight was a case in point. He went straight into the fridge after processing on Sunday. Pulled out last night to check for readiness but still oddly stiff. Left out in the kitchen overnight (nice cool night), back in the fridge this morning, lovely and soft. Crispy and delicious.


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 Post subject: Re: Tough chicken meat
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 3:37 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
Junior Champion Bird

Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:35 pm
Posts: 707
Hi There
We do a lot (a great deal actually) of smoked meat...

I brine the meat (no matter what it is) in water, about a third of a cup of brown sugar, oodles of fresh crushed garlic, white wine (about a third of a cup to a litre of water) and to this I had enough salt to make it taste a tad less saltier than sea water.
The meat is brined for 24 hours and ensure it is competely covered.
When you take it out of the brine cover it again and let it sit in the fridge on a thick layer of paper towel for about 4 hours before smoking.
The best thing to do as well is layer bacon over the top of the meat as the fat from the bacon will permeate through the meat and again keep it moist.....

I did two ducks last week and they were divine...
They had also been settled in the bottom of the fridge for 2 days covered in a wet pillow case (this helps stop the meat drying out), and obviously you would change the covering daily
The trick with any smoked meat is take it out before it is fully cooked.
It is inclined to keep cooking....

People make the mistake of thinking that because the meat look's pink it is not cooked.
You will know the difference between "Raw" and "Smoked"
If it is still bleeding as such give it a bit longer... :hmmm:

Treat it like any roast, IE cover it with foil and I then cover it again with a couple of thick tea towels..
Again this keeps the meat from drying out.
Good Luck
I will send some pics of smoked duckies asap. :duck2


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 Post subject: Re: Tough chicken meat
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 4:06 pm 
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Wise Wyandotte
Wise Wyandotte

Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:10 pm
Posts: 4578
Location: SE Qld
Smoked duck sounds great. I'm looking forward to the pictures.


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 Post subject: Re: Tough chicken meat
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 9:59 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
Golden Phoenix

Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:39 am
Posts: 10116
Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
I just need to get the hang of smoking and I'm all settled ...


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 Post subject: Re: Tough chicken meat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:49 am 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 7:02 pm
Posts: 619
I'm not sure how Bresse are raised, but I believe they are crop fed (gavage fed?) and kept in small cages, which I personally think it cruelty.
Force feeding birds with grain based products does not necessarily improve the quality of the meat. It may improve the flavour and the tenderness, but the quality, as far as I am concerned, relates more the the nutrient content of the meat. Grass reared birds produce meat that is far better for human consumption, and if you have to use your teeth a bit more, then it's good for your teeth too! However take the advice of those above, re resting the meat. Gentle handling when catching and killing is also advisable. I put mine in a pillow case which wraps around their wings and they relax.
Very slow cooking is also recommended. I can guarantee that your hens will make good eating, but I am still reluctant to kill hens. I have read that the best tasting meat is from old hens, and i have my eyes on a couple of 2 yo's who aren't really laying very well.


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 Post subject: Re: Tough chicken meat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:49 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
Golden Phoenix

Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:39 am
Posts: 10116
Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
As I recall (can find out easily enough) Bresse are raised for their last two weeks in darker, more enclosed areas (not tiny battery cages though), mostly on milk-soaked bread. Last I read they weren't force-fed, however. They're otherwise pasture-raised. It would prevent them getting a sudden attack of the skinnies which cockerels at that age (NOT 12 weeks) are prone to.

I do often end up tractoring some of my cockerels to be eaten, just to keep them from harassing the girls. Plenty of space, but not the full free-range. It does seem to have an effect on their weight and definitely calms them down so they're not hysterical when handled at the end - and, of course, makes catching them very easy. As I do at least 8 at a time, time not spent rushing around stressing out chooks is a Very Good Thing.

If I do that, I provide additional cracked corn and greenstuff in their usual mashes and feed.


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