Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Tough chicken  (Read 1153 times)


  • Joined Feb 2017
Tough chicken
« on: November 26, 2019, 02:57:48 pm »
So, as a veggie who produces and cooks meat for others, I am disappointed with my efforts.

Having had a few tough birds in the early days, I read loads of advice on this site and thought for sure I’d get it right this time.

1. Hatched a beautiful La Bresse cockerel and when mature put him on with Light Sussex and Maran hens

2. Good fertility and hatching rates. Large healthy birds free-ranged to 6-8 months.

3. Calmly, straight from coop at dawn, slaughtered 12 using killing cone and air rifle to the head.

4. Hung 2-3 days in cold outhouse

5. Butcher plucked and dressed all birds for me (bargain at £3 each, given that it takes me 90 minutes per bird

6. Cooked one on Sunday, exactly as I would a shop-bought bird. I was expecting rave reviews but it was dry/ over-cooked and the joints never seemed to loosen off as I normally expect, making carving/portioning difficult.

So, what am I doing wrong? I am guessing that fresh chicken in the shops might sit around in refrigeration for up to a week or so?? Would extra resting time before cooking help? I clearly need to cook them a bit less for starters too - do others find very fresh birds cook more quickly?

Thanks in advance for views and advice......


Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Tough chicken
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2019, 06:33:57 pm »
I've never managed to rear a good chicken for roasting so can't help, but can say it's not easy.


  • Joined Mar 2017
  • Gower
Re: Tough chicken
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2019, 07:23:18 am »
try skinning as an alternative to plucking (much easier to complete before rigor mortis sets in), and leave in the fridge until the joints loosen, then roast in a bag. That worked for me with a young cockerel.


  • Joined Feb 2012
  • Somerset
Re: Tough chicken
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2019, 03:26:04 pm »

I'm not sure why such young birds are tough but I slow roast my cockerels which are usually a year old. Here is a good recipe.


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Tough chicken
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2019, 01:55:57 pm »
We have raised meat chicks before and the meat was fantastic after normal roasting. However our spare boys from hatching layers have always been tough, so we now only take off the legs and breast meat (after skinning) and either coq-au-vin them or marinate in garlic/lemon or other asian spices for slow cooked curries - and very nice they are too.
Our meat chicks never got to 6 months old though, and wrt free-ranging we found them to be very lazy and just sitting around most of the time.


  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Tough chicken
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2019, 06:15:01 pm »
That's not a tough chicken, this, is a tough chicken:

farmers wife

  • Joined Jul 2009
  • SE Wales
Re: Tough chicken
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2019, 09:29:23 pm »
The age of the bird is the issue for me 6-8 months is old for a succulent bird.  I think youd call them a Coq au vin bird needing slow stewing over dry roasting.  I raised a Bresse type and recently a mix from Piggots.  90 days old.   I found the Bresse very fatty perhaps too much and the legs were quite tough.

I would assume that 1. the breed 2. the age far too old for a moist bird. 3. You need to cook in pot very low n slow and crisp skin up at the end.

I dont hang the birds due to time.  We kill pluck and dress same day - chill and freeze 2 days after.  I would of thought your way would improve the bird but possibiliy the age of the bird is similar to brisket in beef.


  • Joined Feb 2017
Re: Tough chicken
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2019, 11:15:01 am »
Thanks all.
Will slow cook these then and re-think breed options in spring.....


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Tough chicken
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2019, 12:32:33 pm »
That's not a tough chicken, this, is a tough chicken:

 :roflanim:   That could have been on Strictly - 'mean chicken and the tangoing pony' - neat steps  :yippee:

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie


  • Joined Nov 2019
Re: Tough chicken
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2019, 09:36:43 pm »
I fillet the breasts out of all my home grown chickens, any breed, any age, and slice into bits and fry hot and fast in lots of butter and garlic and right at the end, the pan is deglazed with soy and lime juice - served over pasta and it is always good and while some are more tender than others, all of it is easy to chew.

The rest, depending upon my mood, is either simmered really really gently or jointed up and slow roasted with lots of liquid.

The only time I have come even close to a supermarket bird for roasting was when I did cornish cross and even with 16-week old birds (they were huge) the legs and thighs were tougher than expected and stringy. 

I suspect that the birds in the supermarket are almost at the going off stage as they are sooooo floppy and that may have something to do with it.

Having grown up with store bought chicken THAT is the taste and texture I want in chicken, my birds taste fantastic but lots of them, esp the roosters, don't really taste like chicken! :roflanim:


  • Joined Jul 2013
Re: Tough chicken
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2019, 08:19:21 pm »
I have always found freezing them makes them tender... just a week (or longer if you are butchering a big batch). This was a game changer for me!


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