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Smoked Hen--not too good

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I tried to get a couple chickens over the weekend, but all the grocery store had was one Hen, so I figured what the heck. It looks like a small chicken, let's smoke it. I did the usual and rubbed it thoroughly with olive oil and coated with seasonings throughout. The first thing I noticed was how thick the skin was. It was almost leathery and I had to cut access in a couple spots to season the meat underneath like I normally do on a chicken.

I cooked at about 225-250 for 2.5hours, til the breast read 175 deg. Great, well not so great. The Hen looked awesome, but that had to have been the toughest meat I have ever had in the bird family. You couldn't even bite through the skin to eat the leg. I felt like a caveman trying to rip apart the bird and get a mouthful of meat.

You know how when you smoke a chicken, you try to pull off the legs and all you get is a leg bone, while all the meat stays with the bird because it is so tender? This was not even in the same ball park.

I had to cut the legs off, and could barely pull off the thighs. The breasts cut off as I would've hoped with a sharp filet knife, but this was hardly edible.

What meat I ate was very flavorful, but man was I disappointed at the lack of tenderness in the dark meat on that bird. Did I miss the one rule you should follow for hens?
post #2 of 13
Sounds like you may have gotten a bad bird, that happens sometimes. I've never had a problem with Fryer or Game Hens that I can remember.

On a side note: Next time you might want to pull your chickens at 165°, and let them rest a bit, 175° will almost guarentee a dry bird.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Normally I shoot for 170, and have never had a problem with dryness. Usually my chickens are like pork butts and just kind of fall apart. I dunno. Like you say, maybe a bad bird.
post #4 of 13
I wonder if maybe it was an older laying hen. We always used them to make chicken stock. Otherwise the meat was TOUGH.
post #5 of 13
could have been a stewer.
post #6 of 13
No worries...

No pics, never happened! cool.gif
post #7 of 13
Yep they raise the hens to lay a minimum of 300 eggs per year, when they get too old to produce at that rate they are sold for the pot. By that time they are tougher than shoe leather. Usually they don't show up in your local supermarket though. If you see an add for really cheap chickens in the local buy and sell paper thats usually what they are selling. They make great stock but not much else.
post #8 of 13
Same experience here. Good chicken soup too :{) Perhaps a tip for those birds if you must: Use a white wine/dijon and or vinegar injection. It will help break down the fibers of muscle.
post #9 of 13
same here thought i would do a hen as well it will be my last....same problem TOUGH as all could be..will never do one of those again...looked great but couldn't hardly cut thru it....
post #10 of 13
I wonder if slow cooking it the next day in a crockpot with a little broth at the bottom of the pot would bring her around? I know I keep mentioning crock pots, but I remember a lot of real tender meat coming out of them. With the smoke of the previous day, it might come out real fine. PDT_Armataz_01_26.gif
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yup, it was like a pork butt that had not completely broken down. Great color, better than chicken I've ever done, but very very tough. I still have two small breasts in the fridge, but they probably won't see a plate again.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
I bet this old bird was barely cranking out 75 eggs annually.PDT_Armataz_01_27.gif
post #13 of 13
Or a pressure cooker.
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