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Old 08-14-2009, 10:17 AM
 
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Yesterday, after I dressed a chicken (60 days old, 9 lbs) - put it straight in the oven. The meat was hard-ish, as if it was an old bird...

DH said animals should hang, after having been dressed, "to loosen the meat". If so, for how long?
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:03 PM
 
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Chicken should never be "hung" for aging, this is the way to get ecoli and other bugs to grow in your product. It should be slaughtered and bled out immediately, plucked or skinned, then eviscerated and cleaned thoroughly. Total process time should be fairly quick, and you should have the carcass or parts into an ice bath to cool it down within minutes of slaughter.

"hard-ish" meat from a 2 month old chicken could come from it being stressed at slaughter, or from rough handling, or from not being chilled so that the muscle meat had time to relax before it went into the oven.
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Old 08-14-2009, 02:31 PM
 
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Thanks. The plucking/cleaning process was relatively fast... Stressed at slaughter? - probably. I don't have the skill yet to do it in one "machete" movement.
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuala View Post
Thanks. The plucking/cleaning process was relatively fast... Stressed at slaughter? - probably. I don't have the skill yet to do it in one "machete" movement.
Better to not try to do the "head chopping" on a chicken, but hang it upside down by it's feet. Or use a "killing cone", which can be either store bought or I make them from old gallon bleach jugs. The chicken will typically spread it's wings and flap for a second, but it will calm down. Cut the throat area from the left ear down to below the beak to allow it to bleed out. It will take a few minutes, and the process is a whole lot less messy and stressful on the chicken ... and you. The last thing you want is a flopping around stressed out chicken, breaking it's wings and getting all tensed up.
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Minnesota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuala View Post
Thanks. The plucking/cleaning process was relatively fast... Stressed at slaughter? - probably. I don't have the skill yet to do it in one "machete" movement.

utho.. tried the chopping block stunt huh?
heres what worked for me when I was doing the homestead thing

get your bird early in the morning just befor you let the flock out then its easy to pick-up and deal with ( its sleepy still)grab its feet and ho;d it upside down and cone it .. ( have your husband make a cone that you slide the bird into head down and out the bottem ) make sure your knife is very sharp then grab the birds head and pull it down to streach the neck out then cut the head off in one cut .. ( dont saw it off one fast cut please this isnt the time to be squimish )



step back and let the bird bleed out about 5 minutes .... now then skin it .. dont waste time plucking it .. skin it
heres a easy way to do that

skinning chickens


this is easy and quick and old homesteaders trick

I use a cone the story says tie the legs but I found that the bird flops and gets crazy so the muscles tense up so the cone is easier for me ..and I think kinder for the bird .. yep soft hearted me .. anyways just make sure the knife is super sharp and your quick

oh and dont do it where the other birds can see ya .. they can smell death but the fear is not needed by the flock .. good luck
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Old 08-15-2009, 06:12 AM
 
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regarding beef, common practice is to let it hang ( age) in a cooler for a week before cutting it up ( processing it)
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:10 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Chickens that get exercise are likely to have stronger muscle fibers than those that laze around. Commercial broiler houses are filled with birds that do little more than eat, drink, and go sit and gain weight. The muscles are there, but not fully developed.

When you have a tough bird, one thing you can do is to prepare it for cooking by slicing across the grain of the meat rather than the common slab of breast meat. A meat mallet can pound thin slices into some sense of submission.
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:21 AM
 
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The best tasting chickens years ago were farm raised fryers that were much lighter than 9 pounds.

I bought some farm raised chickens a few years back that were that weight and was not satisfied. Previously, I had bougt them at a lighter weight ( same farm ) and was satisfied.
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:42 PM
 
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I'm thinking - they may as well BE old birds. At 60 days old, they are huge and barely can drug themselves around (9 lbs AFTER plucking/cleaning, probably 10-11 lbs live weight). I bought the commercial kind that supposed to balloon in 30-45 days (which they did). Their layer siblings, bought 60 days ago as well, are still peeping being little chicks for pete sake!

I am getting heritage chicks next time, these ballooning birds are too weird.
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Old 09-13-2009, 01:32 AM
 
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
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Ah, you got Frankenchickens, huh? Those are very bizarre birds. If you don't slaughter them they will die of congestive heart failure and they have weird pockets of liquid inside the body cavity when you process them.

When slaughtering a bird, check the end of the breastbone. If it is half cartilage, then you have a fryer. If it is bone all the way out to the tip, then you have a stew or soup bird. After the chicken has been killed and cleaned, put it in chilled salt water at least overnight in the refrigerator before cooking it. For an older bird, use longer slower moist sorts of cooking procedures.

For the absolute best crispy fried chicken, fry it in an inch of pork fat (lard). I'm not sure of the health benefits of that method but the taste is great.

I hang chickens upside down and use a thin knife through the roof of their mouth to pierce their brain. Kills them instantly and then I can slice the veins in the neck so they can bleed out. They still wiggle though. My grannie's neighbor used to just grab them by the head and twirl them twice around til their head came off in his hand. Eewe! Then the body would flop and run about, very messy and left big bruises on the meat. Was an amazing show for the neighbor's visiting grandkids, though.

Beef needs to age about ten days to two weeks before it gets tender and tasty. Pork doesn't need to age as much, just about the same as a chicken.
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