Friday, October 18, 2013

Tenderizing Spent Fowl

With the growing importation of #SpentFowl into Canada (16.9% of Canada's current domestic broiler production, rising to 100% on or about June 2016, see Blog posting here and here), I thought it would be important to learn about the impact on Canadian cuisine.

Spent fowl are tough and chewy.  About a year ago, my dear wife wanted a roast chicken dinner for Sunday.  I poked around in the freezer for one of our roasters, found one, and roasted it on the barbeque on one of those "beer can chicken" cooking stands.  It looked a little on the small side (compared to the usual monster size we grow on our farm), but golden brown and ready to eat.

When we went to eat it, it was tough and chewy; barely edible.  We both sat there with a mouth of chicken, unable to successfully chew it.  I put down the drumstick, went to the garbage, fished through the vegetable peelings and soggy coffee grounds, and found the vacuum-sealed plastic bag that the chicken had come in.  Sure enough, I had made a mistake when I went to the freezer, for I had grabbed one of our spent hens planned for chicken soup, not a broiler.  No wonder it looked a little on the thin side.  The spent fowl that I had mistakenly roasted ended up getting converted into chicken soup the next day, as it was inedible as a roaster.

Knowing this, what is happening with all this spent fowl meat that is being imported into Canada?  Surely, it's not all going to chicken soup, or minced canned chicken.

Looking on the Internet, I found some research from Poultry Science magazine on the tenderizing of spent fowl.  Apparently, if you inject spent fowl with a 0.1 wt. % concentration of a mixed salt brine (50% Calcium Chloride + 50% Sodium Chloride), using up to 10% of the meat's weight in brine, injected into the meat immediately after slaughter, then put the meat in a vacuum drum and tumble the chickens for an hour to mechanically soften the meat and allow the injected brine to do its magic, let it marinate for 24 hours while under refrigeration, then the meat becomes edible.  By adding a 50/50 mix of Calcium and Sodium salt (rather than 100% Calcium salt), the bitter taste of the calcium is avoided.

Even with this, I'm sure it's not as tasty as a young, plump roasters.  I hope they don't feed this spent fowl meat in the Nursing Homes as a cheaper alternative to real chicken, as I'm sure everybody with dentures would have an especially awful time.

In conclusion, make sure your brush and floss after every meal.  You're going to need your natural set of chompers to chew through the tough old spent hens that Canada is going to be receiving from now on as cheaper cheating chicken.

Those on low sodium diets may want to raise your own birds to avoid the high dosing of brine that will be in chicken from now on.  Perhaps this is why CBC's Marketplace found that Canadian chicken had such a high sodium level, even higher than chicken in the USA.  Watch out for your high blood pressure!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Off-topic commercial spam that's posted so as to help sell your wares will be deleted.

On-topic comments, where you behave yourself and play nicely, will remain posted; whether they are pro or con. Everybody needs to fully understand all points of view so that we can find a solution that encompasses everybody's concerns. Give it your best shot.

If you decide to post, your posting becomes part of the public record, and SFPFC has full rights to use it (or not) in any reasonable manner or medium that suits our purposes.

Before posting, please proofread, and correct as necessary. If you subsequently discover a need to fix your previous posting, make an additional posting that refers to the original posting, then set the record straight.