Somewhat tough(ish) drumsticks

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by Hornviper, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. Hornviper

    Hornviper

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    2
    Exp:
    Moderate
    Hello everyone,
    I cooked 10 drumsticks a few hours ago, but I wasn't 100% satisfied. I am not a picky eater but the drumsticks were a little chewy. A friend of mine has a lot of chickens and he gave me the drumsticks. I don't know if it was my technique or the fact that the animals were 6 months old. I seared each side in a pan and then baked them at 350F for about 35-40 minutes. Oh, I also poured some chicken broth in the baking dish.
    The drumsticks I bought from the butcher's last week came out fine, but these ones weren't as good. A thermometer might be a helpful tool, but I recall being told never to use one.

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

    Messages:
    598
    Likes Received:
    353
    Exp:
    Retired Owner/Operator
    There are a number of possible answers. However, based upon the information that you have given, I would say the chicken broth caused the legs to steam in the oven rather than roast, especially if the roasting pan was covered.

    Also, if you added the broth to the roasting pan and then, placed the hot chicken in the broth, the sudden halt in the cooking process caused by the cooler broth could've caused the chicken flesh to tighten up and become tough. Add this to the steam effect caused by the broth in the roasting pan and I would say these are the reasons why the chicken was tough.

    Other factors could be the temperature of the chicken when the cooking process started i.e. room temperature vs straight from the fridge. Whether or not the chicken was brined prior to cooking. When the chicken was butchered etc.

    I hope this helps. Cheers! :)
     
    drirene likes this.
  3. Hornviper

    Hornviper

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    2
    Exp:
    Moderate
    Thank you. Yes, all of that makes sense. I seared the drumsticks and brought the broth to a simmer at the same time. Then I poured the broth into the roasting pan, added the drumsticks and put them in the oven. I think they were butchered yesterday. I avoid cooking straight from the fridge. I wonder what would have happened if I had deboned and sauteed/grilled them in a griddle pan instead. I am not sure if dark chicken meat responds well to high heat.
     
  4. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

    Messages:
    598
    Likes Received:
    353
    Exp:
    Retired Owner/Operator
    The chickens were butchered yesterday? There's your answer. Freshly butchered chicken should be held in the fridge for at least 48 hours prior to cooking. This gives the process of rigor mortis a chance to run its course. In average sized chicken, that process takes about 6-8 hours to set in and about 48 hours to completely dissipate, depending on the size of the bird. I have heard people say it took several days in the fridge before the bird loosened up.

    Cooking the chicken before the rigor process is over will result in tough meat.

    Good luck. :)
     
    fatcook and drirene like this.
  5. Hornviper

    Hornviper

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    2
    Exp:
    Moderate
    I thought it was 24 hours. I have one last question. Will freezing the meat a few hours after butchering ruin everything? I never do that, so I am asking out of curiosity.

    Thank you for your help and time.
     
  6. maryb

    maryb

    Messages:
    2,533
    Likes Received:
    194
    Exp:
    Semi pro/retired now
    Who said never use a thermometer?? Horrible advice! I take chicken legs to 180 to get them tender, I bake in a 400f degree oven until temp is reached.
     
  7. Hornviper

    Hornviper

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    2
    Exp:
    Moderate
    A chef at a local restaurant. I read "Essentials of Cooking" by James Peterson and he doesn't seem to be very fond of them either. Professionals probably don't need them as they know pretty much everything there is to know. I am still pretty green though. :D
     
  8. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

    Messages:
    598
    Likes Received:
    353
    Exp:
    Retired Owner/Operator
    The time varies depending on who you are talking to, I suppose. I've always held freshly butchered chicken for 48 hours or until the carcass is loose. In a rare case or two, I've even encountered no rigor at all. But, regardless of how long it takes, they shouldn't be frozen before the rigor passes.

    Don't quote me on this but, I think freezing will only suspend the rigor process and it will resume once the carcass has thawed. I've never done it that way so I don't know from personal experience.

    Cheers!
     
  9. dogfood

    dogfood Banned

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    A: I'd suggest SV for whatever time the thickness is , then sear...or,
    B: slow bake @ ~200/225 covered for a couple hours then sear/broil/brown

    If it's a tough road kill..might want to vacuum marinate/brine for a bit
     
  10. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,476
    Likes Received:
    417
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    Were these drumsticks from your friend's yardbirds?
    If so the leg muscles were simply worked a bit more than those of the chix that live their short lives in cages, with very little room to move at all.
    So yeah...tongue in cheek "road kill".

    mimi
     
  11. Hornviper

    Hornviper

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    2
    Exp:
    Moderate
    Yes, they are from his yard birds (6-7 months old). The drumsticks weren't even that bad, they just didn't melt in the mouth. :) Of course, there's always plenty of room for improvement.
     
  12. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

    Messages:
    2,172
    Likes Received:
    512
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    We thin out some young roosters and the legs are always though. The breast meat is tender. If your using yardbirds they are better stewed, or braised for recipes like Coq au vin......It wasn't you, it was the bird. The tender parts of the bird come from the less worked areas. The chickens you buy in the store are raised for meat. They live from beginning to end from 45 to 56 days. Thats a far cry from running around the farm yard for six months. Also, on another note. There are a lot of chickens coming in from China. Check the package and make sure they were raised in America and Antibiotic free........ChefBillyB
     
    flipflopgirl likes this.
  13. Hornviper

    Hornviper

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    2
    Exp:
    Moderate
    Thank you, Chef. You are right, I've never had any problems whatsoever with the breasts, or at least they were tender enough for me and the other folks. :) They were corn fed and ran around the farm for six months.
     
  14. fatcook

    fatcook

    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    72
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    I agree with the prior posters about it being the birds - store birds don't get to move around like yard birds do. Using muscles makes them tougher.

    We raise our own poultry, freshly butchered birds sit in the refridgerator for 48 hours before cooking. More often, we freeze after butchering (I usually don't want poultry for a couple of days) so they sit overnight uncovered in the fridge (air chilled) and then are vac packed and frozen. Either way the legs all go in the dog's supply with the offal and feet.
     
  15. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

    Messages:
    2,172
    Likes Received:
    512
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Hornviper, Noting wrong with what your doing. If you get more older hens or even a few young roosters think of processing in different ways. I'm not sure how much you get involved in cutting your own chicken. This video could help you in cutting a chicken so you can use the parts for different recipes. when the lady cuts up the chicken you can stop after the legs, wings,thighs and back are cut away for the whole breast. You can then take the breast and roast that off. The back could be used for stock along with the wings. The legs and thighs are good for, Coq au Vin, Chicken Cacciatore, Shoyu Chicken and so on. These dishes will give you a chance to simmer these pieces in a sauce to get a more tender dish. The Whole breast can also be taken off the bone and use for all Kinds of dishes. That carcass could also be thrown into the stock pot along with the back. I have a bag of backs in the freezer that I just keep adding to. I don't think one back is really enough to make a good tasting stock. I hope this helps and if you already know how to cut up a chicken then someone else may learn something.
    If you lived in France you wouldn't hear anyone complaining about the roosters on the farm. They look at the rooster as a prize to be stewed and simmered to make a full flavored dish......Good Luck.......ChefBillyB

     
  16. jimyra

    jimyra

    Messages:
    941
    Likes Received:
    203
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I would lose the rings before entering the kitchen. Nobody wants to find a stone or ring in their stew.
     
  17. The Nosey Chef

    The Nosey Chef

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    6
    Exp:
    Home cooks
  18. Hornviper

    Hornviper

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    2
    Exp:
    Moderate
    I will give it a try, thank you.Hmm, I thought 35 mins at 350F was okay.