Can you eat a rooster? Of course! However, it’s not quite as easy as cooking a meat chicken.
Chickens, Roosters, and Homesteading – Oh My!
Your first batch of chicks grew up and to your surprise (and annoyance) one of them turned out to be a rooster. You kept the little guy around for some time, but he quickly grew up to be a big guy, and a mean one at that!
You’ve read Joel Salatin’s books, understanding that a farmer with pets goes broke, yet you just haven’t gotten around to finally getting rid of the “useless eater” on your farm – the biological alarm clock, Mr. Chicken.
You don’t want to just shoot the guy. You want to get some use out of him. But this leaves you wondering the question: can you eat a rooster?
Let’s look at the question in depth.
For starters, meat is meat. There is nothing inherently dangerous about eating a rooster, and it’s not going to be rancid like a buzzard or have any type of strange oiliness to it or anything like that. So, unless your rooster has some type of poultry disease, you can absolutely eat him.
I really can’t foresee any situation where somebody would want to eat a chicken with a strange disease, but let’s just get that base covered.
Roosters are Tough!
The one thing you will discover if you try to eat a rooster though is that he is tough. If he’s a full-grown adult, that is.
Every spring I order several dozen Cornish Cross chicks to raise until I can put them in my freezer. You never really know what you’re going to get – hens or roosters – but I invariably ending up with 2-3 roosters with each shipment.
That’s no problem. I slaughter them all at 8 weeks of age and they all taste great. I can bake, fry, stew, or broil this chicken and it comes out fantastic every single time.
It’s those older roosters that require a bit more prep work. And really, that goes for any older hen as well. Most farmers will butcher their hens after year two because their egg production drops significantly. These are what are referred to as “stewing hens.” They require stewing or else they’re going to be tough to eat.
In my experience, a rooster is even more so.
I didn’t realize this with the first rooster I ever cooked. He was two years old and as mean as a snake. I kept him around because he would chase anything. Several times that rooster chased German shepherds out of my yard.
I got rid of him because that rooster would chase anything. Nobody was safe walking anywhere near the chicken coop and he eventually got me in the back of the legs with his 3+” long spurs while I was gathering eggs.
I cooked him that night.
The plan was to bake him like you would any other chicken you get from the store. As the timer on the oven beeped, I took out my dish and it smelled amazing. It tasted amazing too. At least, what I could get my tongue on because I sure couldn’t bite it.
I’d cooked a chicken-flavored rock.
Try as I might, there was no chance I was going to be able to get that chicken to fall off the bone. It was too hard. I learned my lesson that night.
Cook Roosters Long and Slow
My next rooster eating experiment, I stuck the meat in a crockpot for 12 hours over the course of my work shift.
It was wonderful.
The meat fell off the bone, the seasoning was exquisite, and there’s just something about the flavor of a homegrown chicken that is different than store bought. A more chicken-y flavor perhaps? More gamey? I don’t know what it is, but I like it.
So, for those of you questioning whether you can eat a rooster or not, you absolutely can but I highly recommend either stewing it or doing like I did, and sticking it in the crockpot for several hours. And I do mean several hours. After about six hours we tried rooster #2 and he was still too tough for our liking. It truly did take 12 hours in the crockpot for him.
That was 12 hours on low heat, by the way. If you try that on high heat you could end up with a different story.
A friend of mine uses a pressure cooker for tougher meats though to great success. While I personally don’t have any experience with such, I do recommend looking into that as an option.
So can a rooster be eaten? Absolutely!
Just make sure you do it the right way: long and on low heat. If you do that, you’ll have no problem with putting a tasty – and edible – rooster on your plate.
They’re not as good as a meat chicken, but they’re likely better than eating crow meat!
How to Make Rooster Soup
Forget chicken soup, let’s go with the rooster! I’ll start by saying the best way to do this is by first following the above directions and putting your rooster in the crock pot for 12 hours. Once that is accomplished, move on with the following steps.
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 chopped stalks of celery
- 2 chopped parsnips
- 2 chopped potatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Minced parsley to taste
- Put your finished, shredded rooster into your pot and put enough water in there with it to cover over the top of the rooster.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Now add all your other ingredients.
- Once the potatoes and parsnips are soft, you’re good to go!
Rooster and Dumplings
If you’re looking for a bready meal that will quickly fill you up on a cold winter’s night, then you’ll really enjoy rooster and dumplings.
- 2 cups of flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ cup of milk
- Rooster broth
Alternative: Grab yourself a can of biscuits and skip to step 4.
- Bring your chicken broth to a boil. If you saved what you had from your crockpot rooster you can save yourself an ingredient from the grocery store. It won’t hurt to cut it with a little water if you don’t think you’re going to have enough fluid to make dumplings otherwise.
- Stir your flour, baking powder, and salt together.
- Now stir in your milk, forming a sticky dough.
- Using a large dinner spoon, scoop out a lump of the dough and drop it into the boiling broth. Repeat this process with all your dough.
- Boil the dumplings for 12-13 minutes with the lid on, then boil them 5-7 minutes with the lid off. Just until they look and feel right.
- Spoon out your dumplings and let them cool for a few minutes before you bite into lava.
- Serve up alongside your shredded rooster and you have a fantastic entrée.
Do you have any favorite old recipes for an old and tough rooster that you’d like to share? Have you ever done a version of these above recipes before? Let us know in the comments below!