In America we are use to baking chickens that are raised in confinement their whole lives and processed from 6 to 12 weeks old. If they’re labeled “free range” “organic” they probably just have a small door and access to a small run that’s dirt! The confined chickens are fed GMO corn and Soy, if not organic, and get fat and big quick!
If you’ve ever watched a chicken, they live to get out of the coop! Chickens naturally want to forage, scratch around, eat bugs, grass, stones, and anything that moves and fits in their beaks!
If you’re cooking a properly raised bird that lives for several months and forages for it’s food and is given some grain. You’re dealing a whole different chicken. Cook that birth the same as a fast growing young chicken, and you’ll have chicken that’s tough as nails!!! However, if cooked properly, you’ll not want to eat anything else.
I just found a solution for “old” full grown tender birds…
1.) Forget open pan roasting at high oven temps and basting the bird, it won’t work. That technique ONLY works for young roaster chickens. Instead, use a pan that has a tight fitting lid. Cook the entire bird like you would broth. Add water until the bird is covered. You can also use a crock pot. Add whatever flavorings you want… I use vinegar, onion, garlic, celery,carrot, lemon slices, S&P, and fresh rosemary. Put lid on. A cast iron enamel pans works best.
2.) Bake at 200 degrees until tender. It took me 7-8 hours for a big rooster that was a year old. The idea is cooking it low, slow and with liquid.
3.) Once tender, let chicken cool and take the meat off. It’ll be so tender and juicy it’ll just fall off w/ the littlest pull! Then put all the bones back in the pot and add some more water (if needed) and let it simmer on the stove over night… there you go! The next day strain broth and put it in the fridge or freezer.
There you go, you’ve got beautiful broth and delicious tender chicken!
Seriously this meat is yummmm-ooo! Try making your next pastured poultry this way and your family will think you’re a genius.