Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Meaties Part 2

I had heard about the problems sometimes associated with Cornish X chickens, mostly tied to their phenomenal growth rate and associated weight gain. So it was sad, but not shocking, when one of my 30 Cornish developed a leg problem at 7 weeks.

Now, these chickens have an appointment at Northern Quality Meats in a week and a half. But I am raising a year's worth of chicken myself for several reasons, one of which is to ensure my food is humanely raised, so I wasn't about to let this poor hen suffer. So I called Sigrid, my friend, kindred spirit and general animal management mentor, and asked her if she would teach me to clean a chicken if I brought it over. She said sure, so I brought two chickens over, so I could follow along with my own bird - we learn best by doing after all - and left her the second one for her trouble.

Unfortunately, since both of us were up to our elbows in chicken, I don't have a photo record. I will detail what I have learned another time. But what I have been leading up to - and what you tuned in to find out - is, how did the damn thing taste?

As you can see below, we rubbed the skin with seasoned salt and roasted the bird on the barbecue on a stand that is made for what we used to call "beer-butt" chicken because we stood the chicken on a beer can. The stand, however, does the beer can one better by catching all of the lovely drippings in the bottom. If you drop some cubed potato or chunks of onion in there while the chicken cooks (that's onion in the picture), you will be left with something mouthwatering indeed.
The chicken was delicious. It was moist. It was rich. To be sure, there was no shortage of fat, even after trimming lots off before cooking. But the breasts were as moist as dark meat, and the dark meat was to die for. The wings were meaty. I can't say much about the oysters, because Genevieve scooped both of them.

Today for lunch, there was the moistest chicken salad ever. And then tonight, best of all, fresh chicken soup. Remember those drippings that got caught in the stand on the barbecue? Into the soup they went.
Oh. My. Good. God. 

Oh, and this seven week-old hen weighed 6 pounds even. That's dressed, not live weight. And there are much bigger birds to come.

For those who are interested, I will post a breakdown of final costs and yield per bird once they go to be processed.

That's it for now. I am off to write my first chicken review: http://bit.ly/9wuGDH


Trase said...

I'm reading your experiences with the meaties with interest. :) We aren't ready to take any on right now, because of all of the layers we have. But this is definitely something I'll reference when we are ready!

Trase (from serenityacresnow.com)

Judith van Praag said...

That barbecued chicken looks wonderful, so well browned and the different meals you describe are similar to the use we get out of one fowl.

How do you make your soup? I prefer to make stock from fresh chicken, not the bones of a cooked one.

My parents would catch chicken fat drippings for frying potatoes and so on, but the fat was never added to the soup, both jus and stock were (and are by me) skimmed.

Thank you for visiting my Seattlebloghistory post on weed whacking goats, that brought me to your lovely blog. I'll be back ;-)

Goat-ama said...

Sorry to be so long responding. I was struggling a bit with my latest post about my father and hadn't checked back for a bit.

I appreciate all your great comments!

I generally make soup with the carcass of a cooked chicken, unless a have a stewing chicken (for example, an old layer) on hand.