When my husband and I started keeping chickens, many moons ago, our first flock of chickens was a “straight run” which means a mix of females, or hens, and males, or roosters. With the intention of making the roosters into roasters when they were old enough. And we did just that.
This spring we had 5 chicks hatch out in our flock. Of course, as it is in nature, it is a roll of the dice as to which gender one will be born. This time around, the roosters came up on top with 3 to the hens 2. I would have perfered it the other way around, but you get what you get and there are no exchanges allowed. My family enjoys eating chicken so the roosters will come in handy when it is dinner time.
It would have been ideal to cull the roosters several weeks ago while they were 6 months old as their meat becomes tougher with age and we are limited on our ways to cook them. You know the expression “tough old bird”, well it’s true the older the bird the tougher the meat. So preparing the birds as actual roasters was no longer an option. Eastern North Carolina style pulled chicken bar-b-que it is!!! I don’t care to eat the land dwellers very often, I’m much more a fish eater, but Eastern North Carolina pulled bar-b-que is one of the exceptions for me. Into the crock pot after being rubbed with hickory salt and paprika. Of course when the meat is finished it will be tossed in a vinegar and crushed red pepper dressing.
After my husband culled and dressed the roosters he parted them up to easily fit into the crock pot. The remaining parts such as the skin, feet, organs and necks went in water on the stove to be cooked into broth. This is for sure the most concentrated broth I have ever made. Great for soup bases!
Upon taking the lid off of the pot to have a peek in, my daughter of nearly 10 years exclaimed, “it looks like we are monsters!” I would guess someone who has never made chicken broth from scratch would think just that. I can assure you we are not monsters but homesteaders who are doing our best to be self-sustaining!
The back of the chicken has meat as well. Not the easiest piece of the chicken to pick for sure, but none the less, being frugal as I am, worth picking. Lastly, the main course and main reason for growing the rooster up for 6-8 months, to be culled and turned into whatever our hearts desired. This time: