which chickens are best for meat

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We have been raising rhode island reds for sometime now . The last bounch of chicks had way to many rooster. we kept them caged and at 6 months butchered them. No matter how long i cooked or how i cooked they are still like rubber bands. So does anyone have any suggestion on tenderizing these chickens . I really hate to waste anything.Second does anyone have suggestions what would be the best kind of chicken for its meat. Thank you for any suggestions you may have.

-- Rachel miller (millerclan@alltel.net), December 23, 2001


I was once told by a chemistry instructor that to be tender, meat had to be stewed at a very low heat or it would get tough. If it is boiled instead of cooking slowly it will never be tender. I suppose you could treat it the way we treat brisket here and bake it overnight in some kind of liquid with a lid on it in a slow oven, check it in the AM and if it is still firm cook until supper.

-- Terri (hooperterri@prodigy.net), December 23, 2001.

Rachel, although we're still experimenting to find the perfect combo bird (meat/layer) we did have some sucess with White Orpingtons and Jersey Giants (Black) for meat. Butchered them at 5 months. Even recently cooked up a 1.5 yr Jersey and was not bad! The dark meat was too chewy though but made great soup. We even have baked some 5 mo. old Rhode Island Reds and they were delicious also. Maybe there's something about the way they're butchered? This is all still new to me, so not sure why your 6 mo. olds were tough. Good luck, and Happy Holidays!

-- Michelle in NM (mtndwellers@sulphurcanyon.com), December 23, 2001.

Rachal,did you cook th chicken the same day you butchered it? I have found that if you let the chicken age a couple days in the fridge it will be more tender.

-- VickiP. (countymous@webtv.net), December 23, 2001.


I have found that if you age the chicken in the refrigerator for 24- 48 hours it does wonders to the tenderness. I have seen very few articles that have stated this fact. But from experience I have found it to be true. The same is true for rabbit.

After I butcher a chicken or rabbit now I will leave it in the refrigerator and let it cool and age. After it has done that I then either cook it or freeze it. This process does wonders for the tenderness.

-- Tom S. (trdsshepard@yahoo.com), December 23, 2001.

Deffinatley refrigerate the chickens, turkeys, wharever atleast 48 hours after butchering. It will make all the difference in the world.I have raised RIR with great success.

-- tracy (murfette@stargate.net), December 23, 2001.

Put the chicken in a dishpan of water and be sure it is fully covered with water. Leave it in the fridge for a day or two. This will help a lot in terms of tenderness, although we have found that they are still not as tender as "grocery store" chicken because the grocery store chickens are slaughtered at 8-10 weeks old and are just a lot more young and tender. We have butchered our own buff orpingtons and they are delicious cooked in the crock pot or cooked overnight on very low heat in the roasting pan. Hope this helps!

-- Tracey in Alabama (trjlanier@cs.com), December 23, 2001.

I've been raising Jumbo Cornish Game Hen Crosses from McMurray and they turned out very well. You can start butchering at 6 to 8 weeks, I recently let some go to 4 months old and got 9 pound roasters. I let them sit in the fridge for 2 days before cooking and they have always been lovely and tender.

I'm now butchering my second batch of chickens. This time I got Cornish Rocks from Double R Discount and they too are delicious and tender.

-- Anita in NC (anitaholton@mindspring.com), December 23, 2001.

Wow!!!!!!!!! It seems i overlooked the obvious. We age our vension our lamb . I should have thought to age the chickens. I have always butchered what we need for dinner that day . You have all given such good information . I have a couple of chickens in the freezer . Ill give your advice a try and let u all know how it turns out. And again thank for the Quick Response!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rachel

-- Rachel miller (millerclan@alltel.net), December 23, 2001.

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