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Heritage cockerl smoking

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
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?
post #2 of 15

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

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LanceR View Post
 

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

 

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.

post #4 of 15

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....  :icon_rolleyes:

 

http://whizbangplucker.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

Lance

post #5 of 15

I'm no chicken rancher, yet! :biggrin: 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

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

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

post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by NTBugtraq View Post
 

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

 

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 

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post
 

 

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

 

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.

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post
 

I'm no chicken rancher, yet! :biggrin: 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

 

huh.gif 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 

post #10 of 15

Oh boy here we go!

 

Had to bump it!

 

Al

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post
 

 

huh.gif 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

 

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.

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

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

post #13 of 15

Apology accepted and no hard feelings at all. Thumbs Up The Bacon wrap would be a great way to go. If you want to add a Rub on the bird, a low salt version would be best. The brine will add plenty of salt.

 

If the Bradley's Cure is the same sold through Cabela's...Most are an all inclusive mix and you should follow the manufacturer's directions. From this thread...http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/114597/bradley-pre-mixed-cures ...It looks like the Speed Cure is the same as Cure #1 and is a 1:1 substitute. Best of luck with your birds. The Black eggs sound interesting and as well as Easter Eggers sell, could result in a whole new venture selling Chicks...JJ

 

 

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post
 

Apology accepted and no hard feelings at all. Thumbs Up The Bacon wrap would be a great way to go. If you want to add a Rub on the bird, a low salt version would be best. The brine will add plenty of salt.

 

If the Bradley's Cure is the same sold through Cabela's...Most are an all inclusive mix and you should follow the manufacturer's directions. From this thread...http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/114597/bradley-pre-mixed-cures ...It looks like the Speed Cure is the same as Cure #1 and is a 1:1 substitute. Best of luck with your birds. The Black eggs sound interesting and as well as Easter Eggers sell, could result in a whole new venture selling Chicks...JJ

 

 

 

Thanks, so as long as I follow the Bradley directions, I should then be able to add other ingredients (not salt, not nitrite/nitrate) to follow other's recipes?

 

Any suggestions on how much bacon to add to make up for the skin? In liquid dishes (coq au vin style) a couple rashers work, but I have only smoked fatties and they are caked in bacon...I love the taste of bacon fat so too much wouldn't really be a problem, but I am still trying to find the best way to preserve the original "real" chicken flavor.

 

As for selling chicks, its kinda interesting. Purest's don't want me selling chicks...I am not breeding to SoP, not breeding for look, and not starting with male and female pures. What I am doing is breeding for what will survive here where I am, produce what I want, and be happy. If anything, I hope people will see my birds/chicks as an injection of some new blood that's worth injecting. I hope, though, that local chefs will see my produce as a cheaper alternative giving them as much as they'd get from my more expensive competition. By the end of this year I will be laying 4th generation eggs, and at that point I will start selecting for egg color, breast size, taste, etc...by introducing my non-pure Roosters to my flock. Chickens are such a costly venture, if you can't have fun as well, they're hardly worth rearing...;-]

post #15 of 15

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:biggrin:

 

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