Are Roosters Good to Eat?

We may eat chicken all the time, but roosters are rarely on the menu. Although we may not usually as the question, are roosters good to eat?

Unlike hens, roosters aren’t bred to produce lots of meat, but that doesn’t stop them from tasting very similar and being perfectly edible.

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Roosters are Great to Eat

If you’re raising a flock of chickens, you’ll have to occasionally cull a rooster, especially if there are too many. The ideal rooster-to-hen ratio is one rooster for every ten hens.

If you have to get rid of a rooster or two, don’t let them go to waste – they can taste great in soup or as ground chicken.

Are Roosters Good to Eat

What Does Rooster Taste Like?

Rooster meat has a slightly stronger flavor and darker color than regular chicken but otherwise tastes the same. 

The difference in taste between rooster and hen meat is similar to the difference between turkey and chicken – it’s subtle, but some people’s palates can pick it up.

Because of their stronger flavor and tough meat, roosters are often used as ‘soup’ chickens. Cooking them for a long time in broth or in a slow cooker helps break down their muscle fibers, making them more tender. 

What Texture Does Rooster Meat Have?

Rooster meat is not as easy to chew as other chicken meat – it’s stringier with more connective tissues and can come out dry after being cooked. That’s why it’s best used in soups. 

Roosters have leaner meat than regular chicken since they have a more active lifestyle than the average broiler hen.

The meat isn’t as fatty, but that also means that it’s higher in protein than grocery-store chicken, which is already an abundant source of protein. 

The meat texture also depends on how old the rooster is. An older chicken will have tougher meat on its bones. This applies to all chickens, male or female. Most broilers are killed young, at seven weeks of age, in order to get tender meat.

So a rooster, and especially an older one, will likely give you tough meat. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t taste good if you cook it well.

How do You Process a Rooster for Meat?

Interestingly enough, there are actually a few ways you can process a rooster for its meat. Each process is slightly unique and only some may be suited to your specific skill level or circumstance.

1. Plucking

  • Once you catch the rooster by the legs, hang it upside down and restrain it in a kill cone so that it doesn’t panic. Kill it with a quick and clean cut across the throat.
  • Submerge it in a bucket of hot water (around 70˚C or 158˚F) for a minute or two. This will make the feathers come out easily. Pluck all the feathers off with your hands (or use a machine plucker if you have one). 
  • Cut the head and feet off. 
  • Cut a hole in its rear end and pull the guts out. Empty the body cavity completely. 
  • Now you can throw it in a slow cooker and serve it with roasted vegetables or chop it up and use it in one of the recipes below.

2. Skinning

  • Dunk the dead rooster into water briefly to get the feathers wet.
  • Remove the feet and head.
  • Cut the wings off at the rooster’s elbow. Use shears for an easy cut.
  • Make a small cut into the skin in the middle of its chest.
  • Stick your fingers into the hole made by the cut and pull with both your hands in opposite directions, peeling the skin away.
  • Skin the chicken with your hands, using a knife in tough spots where the skin is thickly attached (like the bird’s back).
  • Cut the tail off.
  • Clean the skinned body off with water.

Butchering a Rooster

After you successfully remove the feathers with one of the methods, you can move on to actually butchering the rooster to isolate specific cuts of meat. To do so, you should:

  • Cut the legs at the ball joints.
  • Cut the wing pieces.
  • To get the breast meat, cut along the side of the center chest bar. 
  • Don’t let the little bits of meat left on the carcass go to waste. There will be pieces attached to the backbones and the wishbone that can be salvaged.

How to Cook a Rooster

You can cook these pieces of meat as you would any other chicken, but remember that rooster meat will be tougher than the average broiler. As with other tough meats, cooking rooster slowly results in more tender meat. 

Grinding the meat is also a great option for rooster since the connective fibers that make it tough will be crushed in the grinder.

Once ground, cook it in a pan and use it in a stir fry or lasagna. 

Common Rooster Recipe

The traditional French stew Coq au Vin is an ideal recipe for rooster, as it involves slowly cooking the chicken in red wine, giving it both tenderness and flavor.

To create a perfect Coq au Vin, you need to:

  • Cut the rooster into eight pieces (drumsticks, thighs, wings, and breasts). Marinate the meat in 1.5 cups of red wine and 1 cup of broth for half an hour (save the marinade).
  • Sear the pieces on a hot pan for 10 minutes, browning both sides.
  • Remove the rooster from the pan, and replace it with diced onions, carrots, and mushrooms, cooking them until soft. Add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste and cook for another few minutes.
  • Pour in the saved marinade (red wine and broth) and stir well. Add the seared chicken pieces and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of soft butter with 2 tablespoons of flour. Add this to the stew to thicken it.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and herbs. 

Final Thoughts

A rooster’s meat is a bit tougher than other chicken, but it can make a good soup or ground meat. If you have to cull a rooster, don’t let it go to waste!

Additionally, there are many recipes, such as the classic Coq au Vin, in which rooster can be used to create an excellent meal!