4 Ways to Cook a Tough Old Chicken (or a Rooster) and Make It Tender
Have you ever heard the saying ‘tough old bird?’
That is what my mom use to say when referring to my great grandmother. There was no disrespect there because she was tough. She was born in 1911, lived through the Great Depression, farmed her whole life, survived many illnesses and surgeries, outlived her husband, daughter, and her 5 siblings, and still lived to almost 90 years old. That takes courage to face all of those things, and I’d say that would deem someone as ‘tough.’
The saying itself came from the fact that as birds get older they get tougher. Which means you have to prepare them in a special way.
Which is what I’m bringing your way in this post. I want to discuss with you how to prepare and cook a tough chicken. Plus, I’d like to share a few recipes that might work well when using an older bird.
Let’s get started:
What’s So Special About An Old Bird?
An older bird has to be prepared a little differently than a younger bird.
You may not realize that the tender birds you eat from the store were actually just babies. Most of them are culled somewhere between 4 and 6 months. The reason is that they are still tender at that age.
However, as a bird gets older the meat begins to get tougher. So you have to keep that in mind if you are culling an older bird.
But I don’t want that to deter you from utilizing the meat if you cull an older bird. An example of why you might decide to cull an older bird is because she has stopped laying. When you live on a homestead, you can’t afford to feed something that isn’t giving back.
So you must cull that animal for financial purposes. Well, you certainly don’t want to waste the meat of an animal that has given so much to you over the years.
Which is why I think it is so important to know how to properly prepare an older bird because that is usually what you are going to have in the freezer unless you raise birds specifically for meat.
However, another instance when you might have to dispatch an older chicken is with a rooster. Some roosters just have bad attitudes and sometimes they don’t develop until later in life.
But if you have a rooster with an attitude, then you need to put that rooster in the freezer. I say this from experience. When roosters flog constantly you run the risk of a child being seriously injured. Their spurs are serious business.
And there is no reason to keep a mean bird around when there are so many roosters that have much better (and safer) dispositions. One flogs in the wrong direction and someone could easily lose an eye.
So take my advice and learn how to cook a tough chicken so you don’t feel obligated to tolerate a hateful rooster.
How To Cook A Tough Chicken
When you cull an older chicken, you’ll process it the same as you would any other bird. The steps following the actual culling and dividing out of the bird is where the difference comes in. There are a few different options:
1. Brine the Bird