Heritage cockerl smoking

Discussion in 'Grilling Chicken' started by ntbugtraq, Dec 27, 2015.

  1. ntbugtraq

    ntbugtraq Newbie

    So, simple question. I am inbreeding my own breed, and setting 100 eggs every 3.5 weeks, so I have a lot of cockerels. My processor is off line until the end of May, and by law, I can't sell anything that hasn't been provincially processed. So I want to smoke skinless birds for my own consumption. Given a heritage bird isn't full of juice like those 8 week frankenbirds, and given I want to skin them because I have no automatic plucker, how would you smoke them?
     
  2. lancer

    lancer Smoking Fanatic

    There are a couple of feed dealers and farm supply dealers in our area that rent pluckers.  Some are free standing and some are on trailers that mount killing cones with drain trough, a scalding tank and burner, plucker etc.  It might be worth asking around the local feed and farm supply dealers as they often know where you can find a rental plucker.

    How old are the cockerels and are they meat, egg or dual purpose breeds?  To smoke a small bird, with or without skin I'd start by brining them in a seasoned brine with Cure #1, cold smoking them for flavor and then cook them.  What have you got in mind for a final result?  That would help form any recommendation on how you cook them.

    Lance
     
  3. ntbugtraq

    ntbugtraq Newbie

    No luck with the feed supply companies, but I did find someone offering to rent one. Its none too cheap, so I'd have to have lots to do at one time to make it worth the expense.

    As far as my birds go; I'm currently culling cockerels at 22 weeks, which is yielding me ~2kg (4.5lbs) of skinless chicken. My original hens were dual-purpose, and my roosters have all been pure-bred Black Copper Marans (originally a dual purpose bird also). I'm inbreeding them to create hens which lay reasonably often (200 eggs per year), but more importantly produce nearly black eggs. In the process, the meat should take on more of a BCM flavor, which is a richer dark meat. Breasts are always going to be thin. Later this year I will be culling pullets at 35 weeks, they should have more breast meat.

    I guess my first goal is to turn a bird into finger food. Something I could just pull meat off the bones and chow down. Something less than a hard jerky, more akin to a smoked ham hock I think. As I write this I'm thinking I would try and debone the thighs/legs first, then work with the meat so as to expose more of it to the flavors of the brine/smoke.

    Next would be to use it in sausage.
     
  4. lancer

    lancer Smoking Fanatic

    These homemade pluckers have been around for 30 years or so.  Many thousands are in use worldwide.  They work like a charm.  The big key easy plucking whether by hand or machine is getting the scalding time/temperature right.  You'll likely figure that out after just a few birds.

    EDIT:  It would help if I posted the link....  [​IMG]

    http://whizbangplucker.blogspot.com/

    Lance
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I'm no chicken rancher, yet! [​IMG]  But any Cockerels hatching this week won't be ready to process until sometime week 2-3 of May. Won't your guy be back up by then? Just curious, based on your time and effort to pluck, how many birds a year makes buying a Plucker worth while?

    Quote: 

    I guess my first goal is to turn a bird into finger food. Something I could just pull meat off the bones and chow down. Something less than a hard jerky, more akin to a smoked ham hock I think. As I write this I'm thinking I would try and debone the thighs/legs first, then work with the meat so as to expose more of it to the flavors of the brine/smoke.

    I don't think you will go wrong with something like Pops Brine. At 4 birds per Gallon and 3-4 days, you will get what you are looking for. Smoke time, I can't say, but no skin, I would go 225-250 for a good smokey flavor...JJ

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/110799/pops6927s-wet-curing-brine
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
  6. ntbugtraq

    ntbugtraq Newbie

    So, the answer to my question would seem to be that its not possible to smoke skinless chickens. Thanks.
     
  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Sure you can...You will just get a juicier bird skin on. Since the meat is low in fat and connective tissue the skin offers greater protection hence the questions on your options to leave the skin on...JJ 
     
  8. ntbugtraq

    ntbugtraq Newbie

    Well, I cannot stand hearing any more talk about plucking. I said, how do I smoke the birds skinner, how do people post in this thread without appreciating my initial post.

    No doubt I will be told I have violated forum rules...lols, unsubscribing due to stupid answers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    [​IMG]  SERIOUSLY!?!?  How much more of a ANSWER are you looking for!?! You get offered help and options for a better product and WE are giving stupid answers. How can you not appreciate my initial answer???...JJ 
     
  10. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Oh boy here we go!

    Had to bump it!

    Al
     
  11. ntbugtraq

    ntbugtraq Newbie

    Jimmy, my apologies, I saw you comment about when my cockerels will be ready and lost it, my bad.

    FWIW, I have cockerels maturing from last year's hatches...like, 40 of them, hatched some 3+ weeks apart...so 5 or 6 every 3 weeks. Plucking isn't an option given how few I would need to process on any given day/week. For whatever reason, part of your answer was above the quote, and part below, so again, my bad for not reading the whole post.

    For this year, yes, my first cockerels will be mature enough to process on the day the processor opens...that was planned that way. I can't sell smoked chickens to anyone (its simply not legal here), so they are just for my own consumption. This situation will arise again, however, at the end of this year.

    As for the fat from the skin, my plan was to use bacon as a substitute. Either fatty style, or as I do it in the slow cooker, just a couple of rashers laid on top.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
  12. ntbugtraq

    ntbugtraq Newbie

    BTW, is there a thread comparing Bradley's Cures to Cure #1? I have the impression its a 1:1 substitute, but I'm unsure
     
  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
  14. ntbugtraq

    ntbugtraq Newbie

     
  15. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yes...Looking at Maple Cure, The salt, sodium nitrite and maple sugar is there. Measure by the directions and if you wish to add Herbs and Spices, there is no issue.

    As far as Bacon, you can go with a few rashers on Breast and Legs or go crazy...JJ[​IMG]

    [​IMG]  
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016

Share This Page