Cool Down Time before Freezing

Posted by: Martin Gutzmer

Cool Down Time before Freezing - 11/01/08 06:04 PM

Some one told me that puoltry that is not chilled for 24 hours before freezing gets tough.
True? False?
Please advise,
Martin smile
Posted by: Bushman

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 11/01/08 06:21 PM

The carcass needs time for rigor mortis to subside. I think 24 hours would be the minimum amount of time to wait before freezing.
Posted by: IPF

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 11/02/08 12:42 PM

Most sources I've seen (and my own experience) suggest that 6-8 hours is sufficient for rigor mortis to pass in poultry; some sources say 4 hours is enough.
Posted by: Uno

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 11/02/08 06:00 PM

After plucking and cleaning, we submerge the birds in cold water until no body heat remains. They heat up the water and we add more cold. I don't think we do this for rigor mortis reasons. We feel it compromises the safety of the meat to throw it in the freezer without first removing as much heat as possible. Plus it makes the freezer work really hard to put 10 or 12 birds in that are still warm. So for the sake of freezer efficiency and cold meat being safer meat, we cool, cool, cool. But we cool for an hour, maybe hour and half, sometimes less if bird is smaller. Have never waited 24 or even 4 hours to get a bird in freezer.
Posted by: Chickie Mom

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 11/08/08 05:38 AM

Me neither, we chill them in cold water as well, and into the freezer or pot they go. I have had tougher birds from the store than chilling/freezing them at home.
Posted by: BC Breeder

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 11/11/08 08:17 AM

If you are dealing with those smelly white birds, it really doesn't matter. THey are chicken "veal" and any toughening from rigor can only give them some badly needed texture.

That said, we sell them but do not eat them ourselves. Our neighbor and customers swear that our on-farm processed birds are superior to the neighbor's that are processed at a local processor. Apparently, our's are juicier with better texture and flavour. I scratch my head on this because both batches of chicks come from the same place and are fed the same food. The only difference is the processing procedure.

Is it the stress of the car ride that is reducing the meat quality? The killing method? Or is it the difference in refrigeration times? They use an electical stunner and bleedout, I use decapitation. The licenced facility birds flash cool and go in the freezer the same day they were processed. Mine are cooled slower and sit in the fridge (0.5'C) for 24-48 hours before freezing.

I suspect all three factors play a role and there are plenty of meat quality reports out there that support this notion. I do know from first hand experience that heritage birds are palatable when processed as I do, but not worth eating when processed according to the regulations. That is unless you want to give your teeth a workout!
Posted by: Uno

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 11/11/08 12:16 PM


I have always maintained that you can raise a superior product and render it a waste product if you do not kill it properly. Hats off to the Meat Inspection Regulation and their forced cruelty and inhumanity. Yes I DO feel that shipping live animals to be killed in strange surroundings by strangers is the ultimate form of cruelty. And panicked meat is dog food if you ask me.

Once we sent our tenderly raised meatbirds out to be butchered by someone else. He was good at butchering, but you could tell immediately by how he handled the birds that there was no CARE involved. Just killing. He grabbed those huge birds so roughly and stuffed them in cages. We could hear legs breaking. It was sickening. mad While hubby and I handled each one like a 10 pound baby, cradling then gently and speaking to them quietly. When those birds came back they stunk. Instead of the wonderful aroma of roasting chicken, there was this rank, sour odour. I warned people about it when I gave a few away. They were good to eat, but there was just this smell that was very off- putting. Fear. Panic. Strangers grabbing and handling roughly. Does it make a difference? You bet your Sunday dinner it does! eek

By the by, good to see you throwing in your two bits, haven't seen you around for a while. Hope all is well with you.
Posted by: Maria Ricardo

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 11/30/08 12:15 PM

I have put my lovingly processed rooster in the ice water for 4 hours, then into the refrigerator for a day and a half and still when I hold his leg and try to flex it, it is very stiff. He was born in Feb of this year. I haven't had a tender home grown bird yet. What am I doing wrong?
Posted by: Uno

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 12/01/08 08:27 PM

Question #1 How old was your rooster?

Question #2 What breed was your rooster?

If you have an 8 week old meat bird and he is tough, then you have done something wrong in raising or butchering him. If you have a 6 month old or 1 year old rooster of any other breed, darn right he's going to be tough because that's the way the coyotes like em!

There is going to be an avalanche of opposing opinions saying that people eat their 1 and 2 year old RIRs or Barred Rocks and they are tender and juicy. Perhaps if you have pulverized said rooster by cooking him in a pressure cooker and submitting him to enough steam to run a locomotive, he may be tender. Or slow cooked him for 11 days in a slow cooker, he may be tender. Or canned him, in effect cooking him once then opened the can and cooked him a second time, then he may be tender. But let's face it, roosters can be eaten but how easily they can be eaten is a subject of much debate!

This is the same as people who raise dairy animals for beef and call them beef. WRONG! A Hereford and a Holstein on a plate will NEVER be the same thing! And a meatbird and any other rooster on a plate will NEVER be the same thing!

To happily consume a rooster you must be a wizard in the kitchen and I take my hat off to the many, many people here who do just that. But I would never roast any old rooster and expect him to be a tender Sunday dinner. Let that idea go! frown While you can indeed eat your rooster, you are likely to not exactly enjoy your rooster if you are roasting him. In my opinion you must do something much more aggressive to get him to be tender, like soak him in lye or battery acid for a few days. (don't actaully DO this, it is a figure of speech eek ) But you get my drift.

I admire the idea of eating surplus roosters. Lots of people do. They are brave. They are pioneers. They are more skilled in the kitchen. But I simply refuse to bother. I have wonderful, tender meatbirds in my freezer, raised for the very purpose of eating. I doubt that your problems are related to butchering or cooling. I believe that roosters is roosters is roosters and coyotes have the teeth for eating them. But us....not so much.

I shall now brace for the backlash...or at least hope there will be backlash considering some of the posting problems there have been lately. Hope others can get on and tell us how they eat nothing but tough old roosters, how only one will keep the family eating for a week or more. I believe this to be true. laugh
Posted by: Foehn

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 12/02/08 11:59 PM

To get a tough rooster tender, you first pound him with a river rock. (after you kill him, please) :rolleyes:
Then you put him in a large pot with enough water to cover, and hold him down with the river rock. Simmer for enough hours to make the river rock tender. You then discard the rooster by feeding him to the dog and eat the river rock, which by now has taken on the flavour of chicken. laugh
Well this has been said before about how to cook a NZ Pukeko, so it ought to be the same with tough old roosters!

I think the secret to cooking non meat bird roosters is to stew very slowly in a crock pot. They don't have enough meat or fat on their bones to roast satisfactorily and will end up tough and dry.
You could also bone them out and marinade with kiwifruit and spices for 2 or 3 hours. Roll them up around stuffing and secure with skewers paint with a mixture of butter and olive oil and wrap in tinfoil and bake very slowly in low oven.
Posted by: Maria Ricardo

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 12/03/08 09:25 PM

The rooster was a white Rock x lt Brahma, 9 months old. Mighty chewy. I will try the next one marinated with papaya that may tenderize satisfactorily. I like the rock recipe.
Posted by: CJR

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 12/04/08 10:19 AM

Never dreamed anyone would eat a Pukeko--- like our Common Coots--that are not even barely edible unless you were starving! HA, but I don't fancy the river rock, either, however long simmered in rooster marinade.! But thanks for the recipe! CJR
Posted by: Htul

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 12/08/08 02:49 AM

Originally posted by BC Breeder:
Is it the stress of the car ride that is reducing the meat quality? The killing method? Or is it the difference in refrigeration times? They use an electical stunner and bleedout, I use decapitation. The licenced facility birds flash cool and go in the freezer the same day they were processed. Mine are cooled slower and sit in the fridge (0.5'C) for 24-48 hours before freezing.

Somewhat along the same lines: does anybody have thoughts as to, in terms of chilling alone (I'm only referring to chilling, not freezing), as to whether it is more desirable (in terms of producing a 'less tough' chicken) to flash chill, or chill over 24-48 hours?
Posted by: CJR

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 12/08/08 08:54 AM

Look back to the centuries of hunting--- and the "hanging" of the fowl (even before plucking), which is cooling, but not necessarily chilling. My father always killed the Sunday dinner rooster on Saturday morning, although, it was plucked and cleaned at that time. During the depression years, we had no refrigerator. The bird was set in the laundry trays in the basement, cool, but hardly cold, until prepared on Sunday. I can never remember a tough fowl--and still wonder about those who DO have tough birds that they raised themselves???? It is only smart to SLOW cook, covered, an old bird--and then take the meat off and chop or grind it for Pot Pies or soup!

Of course, we had "meaty" chickens, which I still call the "real" chicken (unlike factory raised) And the soft (not tender, but SOFT), chicken that is admired today, which to me, is hardly appetizing, is tasteless without salt, seasonings, crusty texture. The finest eating chicken, beef, pork, lamb, (wild--duck, goose, bison, yak, venison, elk,etc.), requires little, even no salt to reveal wonderful distinct flavor, and the neat marinades, seasonings and methods of cooking, just lend variety to a favorite menu item, and are not a necessary addition !! IMHO CJR
Posted by: Uno

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 12/09/08 11:17 PM

Even if it is better to 'flash chill' does the average do- it- yourselfer have the equipment to flash chill? We have always water cooled because that's how our parent's did it and that is the only option available to us! We do not have fridge space to chill 12 or 25 birds prior to freezing. It is simply not an option for us.

We make do with what we have and what we have is cold water. And I think a cooled carcass freezes faster. Plus warm carcasses in the freezer tend to make it ice up really bad! It makes no sense to put 12 warm bodies in your freezer. Bad freezer management.

CJR, you make me chuckle. You remember all the roosters being tender, once they were ground, chopped, and pulverized. wink Tender, as long as they are not served as a Sunday roast chicken dinner. So, can you eat a rooster? Sure. Will it be like a young, plump, specifically raised and finished meat bird? Not on your life! The two cannot be compared nor can they be cooked the same way expecting the same results. But as you point out, it is most definitely doable.
Posted by: RuffEnuff

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 10/29/11 01:03 AM

i have eaten my own roasted 18 month old cornish rooster (we call them indian game here) and the skin was not good but the flesh was more very firm than tough. tough i say is so hard that you cannot chew it up. i believe in using my teeth...i have all of my teeth.

my conish we usuaally kill around 6 months old, both bantam and large but they can be older. we kill on a cool evening and hang them on the clothsline after cleaning over night. then they go in the freezer. other times if it is too warm they have to go in the fridge over night.

different breeds taste different and have different texture meat. the cornish does not have much fat bit crossed to another breed like whyndottes they can have a lot of internal fat. crossed to shamo the meat is very different. most of my birds have dark meat.

most of the birds are free range and development of meat is always good. most of the time our birds are roasted.

i feel stress is another factor which causes toughness, from being confined in over crowded conditions to bullying and unfamilia environment.

i think some people here are talking a lot of rot on toughness. but then again they may have no teeth.
Posted by: CJR

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 10/29/11 08:35 AM

I agree. The poultry purchased in Super Markets is not
"meat" at all, but soft, like processed meats--flavorless without SALT and lots of seasonings! Meat of all animals is to chew! And meat has distinct wonderful flavor of the species with little seasonings, that can be varied for different recipes.
I do not purchase chicken at Super Markets (and few towns have MEAT MARKETS any longer), where some specially grown chicken might be available. MANY Years of home grown poultry has ended, as I do not butcher, and no longer have people to do it (my gamebird hunters have offered to do it, if I raise fryers/roasters again.) So, I eat very little chicken any longer (and I still have my teeth!) Tough? Grind it--lots of recipes for ground poultry.

Posted by: OmegaBlueFarms

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 01/23/15 09:48 AM

An old topic, but after several years of marketing "heritage" poultry meat, I realize that a critical point was missed in my previous posts (bcbreeder). Cooking must be low and slow, we often roast at between 300 and 350'F. We roast until the meat pulls from the bones. This is critical. The old fashioned leg test, pull the leg and if it pulls back, the bird is still going to be tough. If it feels like you can pull the leg bone right out of the bird, you now have a juicy flavourful bird.

Here is a link to an information sheet I give my meat customers.
Posted by: Foehn

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 05/06/15 04:14 PM

Quite timely to bring this subject up again. I'm soon to butcher some 20 week old Muscovy drakes. Any tips on cooling or plucking? And, I'd quite like to open out the birds to what I think is called "butterfly" any tips on this?
Posted by: Uno

Re: Cool Down Time before Freezing - 05/07/15 07:43 AM

Friends recently put ducks in the freezer. Plucking a duck is not the same as plucking a meat bird, especially those meat bird desgined to be easy to pluck.

TO save himself the agony of plucking, they only harvested the breast of the bird, skinless. There is very little else on the average duck carcass to make it worth the effort of plucking.

I know that Muscovies are larger and may indeed have drumsticks worth eating. But if not, you might consider simply taking the breast and not plucking at all.

As for cooling, I have nothing else to suggest other than our tried and true cold water chilling, with fresh, cold water added often to keep the temp down. You want to put COLD objects into your freezer!