Stringy birds ....

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rodstewart

Stringy birds ....

Post by rodstewart » Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:54 pm

Sorry we are new to turkeys. We currently keep basic chickens for eggs and eating. they are completely free range and come home to roost each night after a good corn feed. They are free grazing in grass and olive groves. We have always had to boil the birds before roasting or they are almost uneatable. This has not been a problem but I do not know why. However boiling a 5lb chicken is easy. We are now looking at keeping turkey and realise boiling one of those is a different game. Can you advise us why this is so and how we can avoid it in the turkeys?
Thankyou
PS we live in Greece and temps do rise in summer but are about the same as UK in winter (never freezing)
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miks
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Re: Stringy birds ....

Post by miks » Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:11 pm

I am astonished that you would even consider boiling a turkey! We slow roast them and they are absolutely tender and moist with the meat falling off the bone. We blast them at full heat for 25 mins and then turn the heat down to 120 degrees centigrade until they are obviously cooked enough to fall apart, which could take up to 6 hours or more if the bird is fairly old. We top up the roasting tin with boiling water every so often to make sure they don't dry out.
rodstewart

Re: Stringy birds ....

Post by rodstewart » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:50 pm

Sorry I certainly do not want to boil the bird. We Greek residents tend to cook stuff a lot slower than the UK and Ireland and to cook anything in less than 2 hours is punishable by eating Macdonalds. But without boiling my chickens are "tough and chewy" thus my worry about the turkey. These chickens are very rarely fed anything other than a good quality corn, are left to run free 12 hours per day.
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miks
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Re: Stringy birds ....

Post by miks » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:44 pm

Unless your chickens are very old, they should roast fine if cooked long and slow. We never cook a chicken for less than 3 hours and then it is rested for maybe 30-40 mins during which time it continues to cook....
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foxy
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Re: Stringy birds ....

Post by foxy » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:22 pm

I was wondering are you hanging the birds before cooking? I know turkeys should also be rested a good while before carving.
We hang our birds for 2 days after killing, and they are always tender.
rodstewart

Re: Stringy birds ....

Post by rodstewart » Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:27 am

No we tend not to as it is very hot here in the summer and guess that carries on in our mind to the winter. I will definitely try that.
Any other ideas?
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Re: Stringy birds ....

Post by AlexArt » Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:17 pm

I would advise hanging them too, I've just had my xmas turkey hanging for a week and resting in the fridge for a day before we slow cook it tomorrow, a chook I would hang for a couple of days, in a hot climate overnight would probably be fine - make sure you starve them for 12hrs before killing them to reduce the gut contents to prevent excess rotting.
They will always be a bit stringier than your commercially reared birds you buy in a supermarket as they are free range so build up alot more muscle and as you are in a hot climate I doubt they have a huge amount of fat reserves which helps to baste the meat as it cooks. But toughness can depend alot on age and breed - birds bred for eggs are pretty long and lean in the body so are more like eating a wild phesant than a chook. If I were you I'd maybe try buying a specific meat breed and penning them up, and don't let them get too old ie. well under a year. To help with moistness you could try putting butter under the skin or cooking them upside down - ie breast meat downwards, I always put a couple of lemons and an onion in the cavity too to provide flavor and steam - worth a try! Pot roasting them is also a good way to tenderise meat and for older birds I'd use them in stews or curries etc instead of a roast.
rodstewart

Re: Stringy birds ....

Post by rodstewart » Sun Dec 25, 2011 8:07 am

Thankyou everybody.We have guessed that we have probably just got rubbishy bird and the hanging bit also helps us no end. We will obviously struggle a bit here to get any new "meat" as we live on an island, so they become almost inbred. We will be buying our young ones in April and wondered if you could give us any basic tips....
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Re: Stringy birds ....

Post by Paddy_c20 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:48 am

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Re: Stringy birds ....

Post by Marigold » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:48 am

Can you buy roasting bags in Greece? These are large oven-proof bags which enclose the bird and retain all the juices and moisture during cooking so it doesn't dry out. When its cooked you just slit the bag, decant the juices and leave the bird to rest before carving it. Eg from Lakeland see http://www.lakeland.co.uk/search/roasti ... /q02.r16.1
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