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Tough local free range chicken?

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  • Tough local free range chicken?

    I've been buying free range chicken (usually thighs, legs, or wings) from a local farm for about a year now, but in the past couple of months the chicken has been tough. Our last order of drumsticks were tough and full of ligaments, like a turkey leg. And even though I just had bone-in thighs from them about a month ago which were excellent, the batch tonight was tough as well. I'm pretty sure I'm not overcooking them--I use a thermometer and stopped at 160. I understand that free range birds are more active, but I am surprised at the difference from the same farm.

    Does anyone have any tips on how to cook tougher free range chicken? I was really looking forward to having a mess of chicken drumsticks for lunches and snacks, but they were barely edible the day I cooked them, and certainly not as leftovers. Would brining help?

  • #2
    I like to eat roosters because they're mostly wing & drumstick, and very little breast meat. Roosters also tend to be a little on the tough side if they get too old. When that happens I just cook them low and slow in the crockpot. Generally that's a good way to keep any meat from getting tough.

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    • #3
      maybe they're older birds....you tend to have to cook them longer b/c they get tough.
      Heather and the hounds - Make a Fast Friend, Adopt a Greyhound!

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      • #4
        Another recommendation for low and slow. We raised a bunch of Cornish Cross roosters (the traditional meat chicken), and they ended up a little tougher than we'd have liked. Cooking them in the crockpot or stewpot works wonders.

        One way I like to fix them is to put them in a huge pot with some garlic, green onions, and ginger slices. Simmer until the meat is falling off the bone. Strain the broth off, pick the meat from the bones & return to broth. Add sliced veggies (like carrots on bias, more green onion, green beans, whatever). It's like an Asian-flaired chicken soup, and it's wonderful!

        In the crockpot, I'll season well and add a splash of white wine or even just water (maybe 1/2 to 1 cup?) and cook all day. It still has the consistency of crockpot meat, but it's not bad. Definitely better than eating tough roasted chicken!
        Amy
        ~wife and mother

        Started primal a month before the end of my pregnancy with P who is now 1. Went from a size 14 down to a size 4 in less than a year. Now sitting at 20-21% body fat, a solid 130 pounds, and 5'9". Feeling better than ever before, and able to run around and chase my 5 little boys who range in age from 14 months up to 11.5 years old.

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