I know they don't have hooves, just couldn't come up with a good title for this post. :)
Home grown meat is hard to beat, very tasty stuff. I've messed around with flavoring pork before butchering and wanted to give flavoring this batch of Cornish game hens a go.
Most flavor comes from the fat of an animal. Pork and beef meat is easy to flavor but chicken meat just doesn't have the same type of fat. Most of the fat is under the skin. I wanted to experiment with adding more fat to the birds while adding flavor too, with the intent of cooking these "skin on".
This batch of birds received their usual grain and a heavy addition of corn, garlic, scallion and ginger. They were fed twice a day.
(If you've ever raised meat breed chickens, you know that they will eat themselves to death if given the opportunity. The feed needs to be monitored and limited.)
some of the corn, garlic, onion, ginger feed blend...
I kept the birds separated from the rest of the flock, but let them eat bugs, grass and weed seed. Just moved their pen several times during the day.
The birds spent the day chasing bugs and foraging for goodies..
They grew fast and were ready to process at 5 weeks.
I used my homemade chicken plucker to process the birds . I love this thing, it really saves a lot of work and time.
After dispatching the birds, I dipped them in warm/hot water to loosen the feathers before placing in the plucker..
The bottom plate of the plucker spins while the sides are stationary..
I use the garden hose to spray water into the plucker while the bird is being plucked, this washes the feathers out of the bottom of the barrel .
I stopped the plucker to snap a pic half way through on this one...
It just takes a few minutes to clean the bird...you can put more than one in at a time.
The birds weighed from 1 lb 11oz to 2 lbs 7oz. They averaged out at 1 lb 4oz. Some birds are more aggressive than others, so they eat more. Some had more fat content than others.
I chill the birds overnight before packaging them for the freezer..
Now for the taste test...
Into the cooker, no salt, pepper, seasoning or smoking wood. Nothing but skin-on game hen and hot coals...
The meat was moist, tender and FULL of flavor.
The breast meat had more of a ginger aftertaste. There was definitely a difference in these birds and other game hens I've raised in the past.
These were the most delicious game hens I've ever tasted, whether the feed mixture had anything to do with it or not... I don't know.
I was very happy with the outcome, so I guess that's all that matters. :)
I'll be doing this again!