The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

The Huckleberry seal of approval

Huckleberry eying a plate of meat

Although I'm a vegetable conneisseur, I don't have enough experience to tell the difference between mediocre meat and awesome meat.  This is where Huckleberry comes in handy.

When I take a piece of meat out of the supermarket wrapper, Huckleberry naps on the couch.  I can even open a can of tuna, and our spoiled cat will barely twitch his nose.  But when I bring in freshly slaughtered chickens, he comes running to the kitchen where he meows (in vain) for a treat.

After its two day grace period, I roasted up one of Tuesday's chickens yesterday and Huckleberry was suddenly ready to help out with anything, no, really, anythingMeow!  (Yes, this time I did give him a tidbit of meat to nibble on.)

To my untrained taste buds, the 16 week old Dark Cornish roosters are less flavorful than the 12 week old roosters, falling on the taste gradient somewhere between a storebought, organic, uncooked chicken and a storebought rotisserie chicken.  But to Huckleberry's nose (and mouth), our homegrown chickens are ten times better than either.  I suspect Huckleberry is sniffing out the superior nutrition, which makes me even more inclined to keep experimenting with a good way to raise our own meat.

Raise broilers in style with a homemade chicken waterer that never spills or fills with poop.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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are you saying better than store rotisserie but not as good as store frozen organic? or the other way? It sounds like a big drop in succulence from the 12 week boys, either way.
Comment by brett Fri Jul 16 21:26:09 2010
I think the rotisserie chickens are tastier, probably because they're younger (and possibly never frozen?) On the other hand, Mark didn't notice as big a taste difference between our 12 week old and 16 week old chickens as I did. They definitely were still quite tasty, but in future I would have eaten them at 12 weeks.
Comment by anna Sat Jul 17 06:48:21 2010

Anna- do you brine your chickens before roasting them? Those grocery roasted chickens have all sorts of flavorings added to them, including a fair portion of salt. Soaking them for an hour or so and them letting them dry (uncovered) in the fridge helps them retain internal moisture while the salt also heightens flavor.I do this whether it's a $2 chicken or a $26 chicken and it always makes a huge difference.

I believe you can brine a batch in salted ice water inside a cooler and then freeze them. Cooks Illustrated online will give you the "ultimate" proportions but I just wing it.

Comment by April Sat Jul 17 21:32:00 2010
I haven't brined them before, but I might have to try it. Currently, my roasting method involves brushing the chicken with butter and olive oil, then sprinkling on a good portion of salt and pepper. I keep basting with the butter/oil as I roast. This turns delicious chickens even more delicious, but I think it doesn't hide mediocrity as well as it could. :-)
Comment by anna Sat Jul 17 21:49:38 2010
Those chickens have the Everett and Missy seal of approval too! And our dogs have judged the leftovers spectacular. We cooked and ate ours yesterday, and still have enough left over today and tomorrow for sandwiches. We slow-roasted it in the oven with herbs and some lemon juice. Mmmmm....
Comment by Everett Mon Jul 19 11:01:13 2010
I'm so glad they got the Everett and Missy seal of approval! I was hoping you'd let me know what you thought once you cooked it.
Comment by anna Mon Jul 19 13:16:15 2010
It is good to see that Huckleberry is a cat of high standards, not that I would expect any less. :-)
Comment by Brandy Tue Jul 20 07:56:43 2010
Yes, Huckleberry definitely does believe he deserves the very best.
Comment by anna Tue Jul 20 08:02:03 2010

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