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Oct 15, 2011 12:37 PM

Kosher Capon//Raw or Cooked for Thanksgiving, or Before

In the Delaware Valley (Philly/burbs/Across River Cherry HIll, etc) where could I purchase, or
order ahead of time, Kosher Capon? I'd like to try this once myself before brining it to our
daughter's for Thanksgiving. Hubby does not like turkey, and neither does my son-in-law.

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  1. My daughter just explained why this can be a problem. A Jewish Farmer could
    not caponize a chicken, but if an alrady caponized chicken were to be killed by a shocket
    it would be a Kosher Capon. Any idea how I might be able to go about this?

    6 Replies
    1. re: Bashful3

      There are others in the Philly area who can answer this far better than me, but I would suggest contacting Klapholz's out of Elkins park to see if they can source the Capon for you....

      You just want a Turkey sized chicken....yes?

      I have my doubts about the big stores (Shoprite in Cherry Hill, Acme in Bala Cynwyd, etc...) being able to do a single order like that.

      My advice (not that you asked for it) is to just find the biggest pullet you can find and cook 2 of them. No need to make yourself crazy over one dish.

      1. re: vallevin

        The taste of capon and a pullet is completey different.
        Unfortunately, today we seldom see a variety of poulty. The days when a roasting chicken was 7-8 lbs is gone. Factory farmimg has led to the slaughter of ever younger birds that have not developed taste and flavor. The best chicken soup was made from an old hen that stopped laying, not a young 3 lb bird.

        A capon is a neutered male that is allowed to live and gets extremely fat and flavorful. My mother always ordered capons when it was tiome to render schmaltz and make gribenes as the fat yield was so high.
        Before the conglomerates took over the kosher pultry business it was very easy to find capons with reliable supervision (OU), now our meat sellers are not butchers and either don't have access to specialy items or can't be bothered satisfying individual request.

        Yes this is a rant, but 30 years ago I could name a dozen US najor kosher poultry brands that have all but disappeared. NYers may remember Falls, Those from the midwest might recall Queen Esther. I was in the Kosher catering business from 1977 to 1985 and their was no shortage of reliable suppliers. I could get all the capons or caponettes from Empire that I desired.

        1. re: bagelman01

          What is the difference in taste? I just bought a pullet and made a mental note that I had not seen that recently. It is smaller, but I thought that was it. What will it taste like? Also, what about a chicken marked "broiler?"

          1. re: cappucino

            As chickens mature/age the taste of the flesh becomes more pronounced. They also take on some characteristics of the feed. The bones develop and grow stronger with more marrow and gelatin in the birds---great for soup.

            In the not so distant past:

            2.5 lb chicken was a fryer. It was small enough so that you could cut it in pieces and fry in about 1/2" of oil in a pan and cook through

            3.5 lb chicken was called a broiler, it was thicker and needed the intense heat of your broiler to cook the flesh thoroughly

            5+ lbs was a roasting chicken, cooked whole in the oven

            pullets were more than 4 months old, had a bit more flavor, great for stews, etc

            Hen or soup chicken was typically about 6+ lbs, more than a year old and could be stringy or tough. It needed long simmering in the soup to be tender, but had great Koachus (strength) to add to the broth

            capons were neutered roosters, the equivalent to a steer (beef). They fattened up quickly and gave a particulary rick flavor when roasted and stuffed.

            Since the early 90s Empire has marked 2.5-3 lb chickens as young broiling chickens and anything over 3.5 lbs as roasting chickens

            There is another marketing term used by Empire for 1.5-2lb birds- Young Cornish Broiler. In the old days 'Cornish Game Hens' were young female chickens of about 1.5 lb weight and were served one to a person as a meal. They were originally a different breed, but today mass market kosher chicken tends to be one bland variety, a far cry from my youth when farmers brought varieties of chickens for slaughter.

            1. re: bagelman01

              My grandmother used to serve rock cornish game hens whenever we had a special occasion or on an occasional Yom Tov. It was her signature (along with the roshinka cake and other good stuff). I see them in the freezer at all my 1-stop kosher markets. Is it worth buying in 2011? Will it be more flavorful? And, thanks, bagelman, for the education. Very interesting information.

              1. re: cappucino

                What you probably see in the freezer at your kosher supplier is NOT a Rock Cornish Game Hen, but Empire's 'Young Cornish Chicken' This is merely their nomenclature for a bird that is young and less than 2 lbs. It will NOT have the flavor you remember of your grandmother's game hens, as it is not the same 'specie' of chicken. The Cornish GAME hen had that extra intense flavor of most game, not available in factory produced mass market American poultry.

                Today, the name is used as marketing for a small bird appropriate to serve whole to an individual diner. What is being labeled 'Young Cornish Chicken' would have been labeled a 'Spring Chicken' years ago on the menu at any kosher hotel in the Catskills. It is young, small, tender and with a very mild taste.

      1. re: AdinaA

        Always be aware of hashgacha. For those who might way to know, Aaron's Gourmet is under the hashgacha of Israel Mayer Steinberg.

        1. re: queenscook

          Thanks so much for all replies. I sent a note to Aaron's about availability.

          I remember the taste of the Capons being superior to the taste of chicken, even though
          my Mother's chickens were marvelous also. It seems that poultry in general WAS
          tastier 50 or so years ago, not just that we older gals remember it that way!

          Sort of like tomoatos! Raised then to eat locally, not shipped. Raised now to ship
          without spoiling easily, and so the taste got relegated to second or third place.

          And, yes, my Mother's chicken soup WAS tastier than mine ever is, even though
          I've learned to use far less water, and use a slow cooker to make it.

          1. re: queenscook

            So, why isn't there a butcher under a mainstream hashgacha in the niche that Aaron's is in? The webpage looks great. Capons, pheasant, duck already boned, and more such wonderful-sounding things that I don't see elsewhere.

            This is a serious question. Is there a business reason why someone with an OU doesn't compete in this market? I mean as a butcher who offers foie gras and, apparently, ships it overnight to Jews who would like to serve quail for dinner and are not price sensitive.

            1. re: AdinaA

              The simple answer is that there are not enough Jews who want kosher variety poultry and are NOT price sensitive. I think you are a relatively newcomer to this board (under 2 years, If I'm incorrect I apologize in advance). If you were to search 'MartyB' who was a regular contributor for years, you would find that he would post the proces of the meat and poultry specials each week in the Five Towns and also there would be heated discussions about whether Pic N Pay or Glatt Mart or Chaim Yonkels was 3 cents per pound less for bagged frozen thighs
              You are far more interested in the CH experiwnec than the average kosher consumer struggling to feed a large family at a time when meat and poultry prices have skyrocketed.

              I am near 60 years old. I have worked in the kosher food industry years ago. It was a localized operation. I live in Connecticut and there were local kosher poultry processors such as Kosh-R-Best that bought variety poultry from local farmers, shecht under supervision and delivered to the many local kosher butchers in the state. Growing up in New Haven there were 20+ kosher butchers, now there is one. You could not go into any regular supermarket and buy kosher poultry or meat. Today I can get kosher poultry at any chain supermarket in the area or fresh at places like Trader Joe's.

              Even if a local operation were to source variety poultry from local farmers and schect and process under a reliable/acceptable national kashrut organization the goods could not be shipped across state lines with the plant being licensed and certified by the USDA. This is a very expensive proposition to reach a very tiny market.

              I have non-Jewish friends who are into heirloom strains of poultry and consider themselves 'localvores' they will pay $25-35 for an individual treif chicken from a local farmer. Can you imagine most or many or more than a handful of kosher consumers doing that? I can't.

              A basic problem (discussed on many of the non-kosher boards) is that we do NOT buy our meats from butchers anymore. We buy from meat retailers who often do no more than package and label boxed product that arrives from the processors, and maybe grind hamburger. The days of your local butcher shop receiving beef on the hoof, where a carcass is rolled out of a refrigerated truck on a hanging hook and into the butcher's walk in to be cut down (butchered) on premises to steaks, roasts, chops etc is gone.

              Growing up, I akways asked the butcher to grind a couple pounds of neck and skirt for hamburger, as it was the swetest ansd tastiest meat. Today, you see a case of prewrapped hamburg that is merely labelled with fat content, you have no idea what cut of meat was ground.

              So if a local schecting operation want to set up an operation as you suggested to sell in metro NYC, how could he survive if he could sell only in NY but not ship to NJ?

              1. re: bagelman01

                Thanks for the explanation. I'm sure you're right. And I hadn't known about the shipping across state lines problem.

                I do know what it is to struggle with a budget and a large family, I've been there, and the price of chicken doesn't put a patch on the terrifying tuition bills. Perhaps I should feel guilty, but, I have some money now. And i would like to spend it on eating things I once couldn't have afforded.

                I have also noticed that lots of people have a great deal of money. Enough to own apartments in Miami and Jerusalem, to drop tens of thousands of dollars taking the family to a Pesach hotel, and to regularly have dinner at Solo and other places that run close to $100 per person.

                Moreover, Aaron's exists, and while it does not meet everyone's standards, the OP and enough other Jews who keep kosher must be shopping there because it's still open and I don't believe that Presbyterians are having kosher veal cheeks shipped to them from Queens at 16.99 lb.

                Park East is offering Kobe-Wagyu Beef at $75 per lb. for boneless rib steak.

                I wish they, or Seasons, Pomegranate, or Kosher Marketplace would offer Foie gras, capons, boneless duck and so forth.

                Some of us would be willing to pay. And some people, like the OP, would pay to have it shipped to them (assuming that this can be done safely and legally)

                It doesn't solve the day school tuition problem. But it might be a nice parnasah for an entrepreneurial butcher.

                1. re: AdinaA

                  Hi This is my first post and I must tell you that I am becoming very skeptical as to the Kashrus relaibility of Aarons Gourmet. Please help me with this.

                  I have been purchasing from Aarons for well over two years. I do not purchase over the internet but rather I go to the store in person.
                  Two years ago when I first purchased aged rib steaks Aaron told me that is was Glatt Western Beef. I subsuquentlyy determined that his source for those ribs was from a non glatt wholesaler in chicago. I spoke to the rav hamachshir of that slaughter house and determined that the Shechita was OK so figured that it was Ok to eat the meat, but that was the first reason to be skeptical of Aarons.

                  I also spoke to rabbi Steinberg who told me that he does not supervise the kitchen wheer the turducken stuffing and other cooked items are prepared .A second reason to worry.

                  I continued purchasing rib steaks from Aarons and he showed me the OU Glatt packaging but he said that he cannot age the OU meat since the fat has been removed. This tells me that all the aged beef is non glatt.

                  Just before Rosh hashana I went into Arons to purchase Veal lamb and French Roasts. He advised that I purchase organic chicken and duck legs. He said he would have it tomorrow. He gave me 2 beautiful LARGE capons that he labeled as organic. Problem is ther is no such thing as Organic capons. So too when I called him today I was told that it was supplied by WISE. However wise does not produce Capon!. So he said it is from Rubashkin. Well neither dioes Rubashkin supply Capon at this time of year. (if at all)
                  Also the chicken is much too clean but Aaron says he cleans them and washes them. BUt I fould a packet of liver in the cavity which Aaron says he put in there himself.
                  Our Sukkos Capon was delicious but I now worry if it was kosher. MY non religious aunt said it tasted too good to be kosher.

                  What do you think? I will see Aaron tomorrow. I hope he straightens this out but I am very nervous sisnce I ama an observant jew who cannot believe that I would be lied to by a merchant.


                  1. re: miltonb

                    Miltonb, this is not a board to be discussing kashrut, just food that happens to be kosher. That being said, it sounds like Aaron has been lying/telling you what you want to hear for years. If I felt that way about a merchant I would be hesitant to buy from him regardless of if he was selling food, electronics, or anything else.

                    1. re: avitrek

                      OK I think got to the bottom of this and all is well with the CAPON. Wise sells david Elliott capons in packages of one and supplies the livers as well Aaron repackaged the Liver and put it into thje cavity in a bag.

                      At least I know that the Capon was Kosher as David Ellliott was the supplier and it was available before Rosh hashana. I do love the quality of Arons meat.

                      Sorry for thje skepticism but atr least I have no reason to think that a non- kosher supplier was involved.


                      1. re: miltonb

                        There was a discussion on this thread about the impracticability re cost
                        of Kosher Capons. Well, I was shocked to learn that Aaron is quoting $8/99/pound for Kosher Capon. Let's see, an 7-8 pound bird would cost $63-$72? I didn't think it was going to be inexpensive, and I wanted this badly
                        enough to pay quite a bit, but not that much. There must be folks who are determined enough to get up to that price point, but with all the waste on pountry that is truly steep. It would be turkey for us, except that both my husband and son-in-law dislike the taste of turkey.

                        So, I think that Acme in Narberth's offer of spit roasted roaster chicken is
                        the way to go for our family's Thanksgiving. (Special order, not the usual
                        size they would spit roast)