Tuesday, June 7, 2011

chicken dinner

We segregated Quesadilla from the rest of the flock last night. He (her? I never checked) was the first to show signs of having a hard time walking and breathing. Cornish crosses have a very short lifespan, 12 weeks average. They are bred to grow so fast and are so breast heavy that if not butchered in time they are likely to be found dead of a heart attack. Even at 6.5 lbs not all of his feathers had time to grow in.

At first we put him in a cat carrier with water, but soon the water was everywhere and he was soaking wet. He spent the night in the coop yard with a small shelter and only water.

Before I went to work we prepped him for eating. It took about 20 minutes from start (give thanks) to finish (looking like a store bought bird). Dressed out he weighed out at 4.6 lbs.

Now what? I looked around the kitchen for a container large enough to brine the bird.

In desperation I dumped the brown rice out of its 3 gal bucket (Now I have multiple jars of brown rice) and put the chicken inside. Water, salt, rosemary and some poultry seasoning and into the fridge it went. In hindsight I should have cooled it down in ice water first - but my day job was soon to start.

Off to work I went.

I came home to dinner nearly ready. Using the beer can method on the charcoal grill Hubby and Juju cooked our first home raised meat.


Very chickeny flavor. The colour of the meat showed that this bird had lived, not in a cage in a warehouse, but really lived. He had pecked and scratched, eaten bugs and greens, run and played.

But, I think a traditional oven roast would have been nicer. The beer did keep the meat moist, but the texture was so different from the frozen chicken breasts and thighs we usually eat that despite the 180 temp, there was the momentary thought of "did I cook it all the way?"

Juju had a hard time, she said knowing the chicken made it hard to eat. Mesha, on the other hand, ate both drumsticks with enthusiasm. She also claimed the legs of the other 2 birds. It was celebration dinner of sorts - we could do this. In a couple more months we will be able to have a full dinner from our yard.

That feels good

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