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Aging/"Hanging" Chicken?

Sher.eats Nov 12, 2008 08:51 AM

Hey all,

I visited a chicken farm today and had a chicken killed by neck-snapping, no blood loss, no "struggling", the meat didn't tense up.

Took the bird home, plucked the feathers, carefully removed the internal organs and the esophagus, gently washed the skin and cavity, it's now wrapped in a towel sitting in my fridge.

My questions are:

1) Here in Hong Kong, chickens are killed by slotting the neck and letting the blood drain, my chicken was killed via neck snapping, so the "blood" which usually have been drained is still "in" my chicken, does this affect anything?

2) Are there any benefits in letting the chicken sit in my fridge for a time period (flavour, texture) and what are the health risks?

3) Anyone knows how French Bresse chickens are killed/hung?


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  1. JanPrimus RE: Sher.eats Nov 12, 2008 09:30 AM

    Far as I can find for question three is this from www.practicallyedible.com

    There are around 15 processors who slaughter the birds, and age the carcasses by hanging for a short time after slaughter.

    The processors also look after selling the meat. The slaughtered birds are always sold as a whole bird, never as parts. The head and neck are left on, as well as some feathers at the base of the neck when shipped to the stores and sold to the consumer, The neck has a seal around it saying "Bresse", and a bracelet around the left ankle of each chicken identifies the breeder.


    I would guess that they snap the neck as bleedinging them would be unsightly.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JanPrimus
      Sher.eats RE: JanPrimus Nov 12, 2008 06:31 PM

      hey JanPrimus,

      Thanks for the link, from further research Bresses are killed via neck-snapping but I still am not sure whether they let the blood out...


    2. g
      garfish RE: Sher.eats Nov 12, 2008 03:38 PM

      To get a chicken served before rigor mortis sets in the body you need to have the family already seated at the table when you slaughter the bird. If that doesn't happen then you need to keep it refridgerated for at least 24 hours to get it through the rigor mortis or it will be very touph. Its not a matter af aging...just long enouph to get through rigor.

      1 Reply
      1. re: garfish
        Sher.eats RE: garfish Nov 12, 2008 06:30 PM

        When I plucked the chicken last night the meat wasn't that hard but this morning the meat has tensed up, I'll check on it again tonight, it should soften up by tomorrow...

      2. r
        Rick RE: Sher.eats Nov 12, 2008 06:12 PM

        I can't offer any advice, but where did all that blood go? It didn't pour out after removing the internal organs?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Rick
          Sher.eats RE: Rick Nov 12, 2008 06:27 PM

          hey garfish

          there was no "liquid" blood when i removed the organs, there were some blood "clots" in the major arteries near the heart but otherwise there was no blood! have no idea where the "blood" "went"...


        2. pikawicca RE: Sher.eats Nov 12, 2008 06:43 PM

          Wow, this is a gnarly thread. I've bought Bresse chickens in France. They looked like normal chickens, no blood clots. The heads were not attached, but the feet were. I suspect their throats were slit, but I don't know for sure.

          3 Replies
          1. re: pikawicca
            Sher.eats RE: pikawicca Nov 12, 2008 06:49 PM

            hey pikawicca,

            the bresses i've bought have their heads still attached.... like here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/learmont...

            their organs are removed, clean, placed in a plastic bag then placed inside the chicken's cavity. not sure if the a chicken gets its own organ 'pack' though haha

            1. re: Sher.eats
              pikawicca RE: Sher.eats Nov 12, 2008 06:57 PM

              Thanks for the photo -- it was interesting. I've never encountered a Bresse chicken in plastic wrap. I shop in small meat shops when I'm in France, and the chickens are always "naked."

              1. re: pikawicca
                Sher.eats RE: pikawicca Nov 12, 2008 07:07 PM

                yah the chickens are naked but their organs are place in a bag which is then placed inside the chicken cavity...well at least for the ones i've bought anyway. =)

          2. j
            jerry i h RE: Sher.eats Nov 12, 2008 07:24 PM

            Dang. I worked as a retail butcher for 2 years; you think I'd know, but this is kinda new to me, so take what I say with a big grain of Hawaiin red clay salt.
            1) the letting of blood has to do with jewish orthodox dietary law (yeah, yeah, I know: a hundred rabbis are going to chime and prove me wrong). Also, in some east european countries, the blood is highly valued for soups, stews, sausages, so having fresh blood is an extremely valuable culinary ingredient to be used and savored ASAP. AFAIK, the keeping qualities of a chix in modern processing factories and distribution systems is not related to its being bled or not.
            2) There are ZERO benfits to dry-aging poultry. This works for beef and veal, but only because the meat is tough and leathery, and aging ameliorates this a little. In old days, phesants and other wild game were hung and aged, not to improve flavor (which became more rancid and disgusting, provoking all those nasty, sweet, fruit sauces to hide the fact that you were eating rancid, spoiled meat), but to make 'em more tender. Wild game, freshly caught and cooked, would be like eating shoe leather unless you cooked for several hours.
            Disclaimer: my official training is that of a pastry chef, so my thoughts may not be that of a standard savory chef.
            Warning: you might be able to improve the quality of your poultry by dry aging, but I do not see how. Since it is domestic, it probably is not that tough. If you have a chix you bought in a grocery store, dry aging as suggested here is dangerous and could lead to trips to the emergency room. The OP had a specially, custom, hand slaughtered chicken, not one of those mass-murderded ones you will find in the grocery store for $0.69 per lb.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jerry i h
              Sher.eats RE: jerry i h Nov 12, 2008 07:57 PM

              hey jerry i h!

              a butcher turned pastry chef!

              nice to know the "the keeping qualities of a chix...is not related to its being bled or not".

              I guess the only benefit of aging is for waiting till the rigor mortis subsides, which is as Garfish said is 1-2 days.

              Still debating whether to roast whole or portion then sous-vide...

            2. g
              garfish RE: Sher.eats Nov 15, 2008 06:53 PM

              Hope it worked out for you.


              1. g
                garfish RE: Sher.eats Nov 15, 2008 07:00 PM

                nice to meet you by the way...

                4 Replies
                1. re: garfish
                  Sher.eats RE: garfish Nov 15, 2008 08:51 PM

                  hey garfish, yup the chicken was brilliant!

                  I butchered it 36hours after slaughter, the skin was soft and "sticky" instead of the usual damp and "rubbery (this could be caused by a) the breed of chicken b) hand plucking the feathers without predunking chicken in warm water c) air drying the chicken in fridge for 36 hrs). The meat was scallop tender and extremely flavourful (again, could be a) the breed or b) the aging), I could have sworn it was a Bresse! There was NO BLOOD throughout any of the muscles.

                  I pan fried the tenders in butter and served with ginger-shallot flavoured olive oil.

                  I sous vided the breast with beurre monte at 60C for 20 min, then pan crisped the skin. Served with chicken butter emulsification from its own sous vide bag.

                  I deboned the leg, removed the tendons, butterflied some of the muscles to create a flat surface, spreaded bacon-mushroom mousse then rolled the leg up, sous vided that at 64C for 1 hour, then pan crisped the outer skin. Served with glazed chestnuts, honey sauce and micro-celery.


                  see attached pics!

                  1. re: Sher.eats
                    garfish RE: Sher.eats Nov 22, 2008 03:54 PM

                    Glad it worked out for you. Wish I could have sampled some of your dishes. One of the things on my list now is buying a chicken in Hong Kong...and sampling the street food

                    1. re: garfish
                      Sher.eats RE: garfish Nov 23, 2008 10:39 AM

                      hey Garfish!

                      Winter is the best time to visit Hong Kong, PM me if you're visiting, I'll send you some foodie resources.

                      1. re: Sher.eats
                        garfish RE: Sher.eats Dec 6, 2008 06:45 PM

                        It's winter here. I happen to be in between jobs right now and have the opportunity to travel. I 'm not familiar with the PM function on this site if there is one.

                        I just might want your advise in visiting Hong Kong. stucook@bright.net

                2. j
                  jackie57 RE: Sher.eats Oct 15, 2010 08:56 PM

                  i read in an old french book that they are smothered to death. to keep the blood in, so the flesh is reddish., and has a special flavor.
                  i don't know if this is still true.
                  anybody know for sure?

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