Roaster vs. Fryer (chicken).....

starlightfarmNovember 8, 2009

I know that "roasters" are bigger, older hens and "fryers" are generally smaller, younger chickens.

I have always used fryers for baking a chicken (high-roast and Sticky Finger 5 hr roasted). They always turn out great.

My local supermarket had their big roasters on sale today, so I got one.....

Do I need to treat this bird any differently?? (other than cooking time, since it is a larger bird)

Sorry..... I'm sure this is an elementary question to you great cooks on this board.... but I'm learning a lot from you guys!

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The roasters that I buy are not "Older hens". They are usually only 7 to 8 weeks old. Running anywhere from 5 to 7 pounds. Fryers are just smaller birds, usually 2 to 3 pounds. I bought four stewing hens today, and they were actually quite small. I bought them to make stock.

You don't need to treat a roasting chicken any different that you would a small fryer that you are going to roast.


    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 9:45PM
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Thanks ann_t..... I guess that was just an assumption on my part (that they were older hens).

That's why I came to you guys!

So.... sounds like the only difference is the weight of the chicken?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 12:13AM
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Who knows how grocery stores rate their fowl? Originally, I believe age would have made a difference, but dunno about now. Grandma fried young chickens, roasted older chickens and then stewed the old biddies who had got past laying but were "tough as an old hen!"

I buy 10 pound bags of chicken quarters at a local store for about $6 partially because they're cheap, but a bigger part of the reason is that they are from larger, older chickens and have more of the real chicken flavor I remember from my childhood.

Apparently, commercial chickens are slaughtered quite young, and so are tender no matter what way you cook them. But a certain amount of flavor is sacrificed.

For myself, I have a mouth full of teeth that work just fine and I would prefer to chew a bit more to get better flavor. For this reason, I've never been all that worked up about veal or filet mignon. Yeah they're tender, but I want beef that tastes like beef and steak that tastes like steak!

Same sentiment applies with chicken. I want it to taste like a chicken!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 7:19AM
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Ditto on the above. Flavor increases with maturity, but tenderness decreases.

I generally use roasters for well, roasting, and for soups.

I once had some 'squab chickens'--not true squabs, but little bitty chickens. (The French term is poussin--the birds are slaughtered at about 4 weeks.) Incredibly tender, but nearly tasteless. I'm never going to bother with them again.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 10:04AM
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I agree, I'd rather chew a bit more and have something that tastes like something.

Truthfully, in the industry a "roaster" is a special breed of chicken, usually something called a Cornish Cross. They are bred to be like bowling balls with legs and can be raised from a chick to 8 pounds in 6 weeks or so.

Now the problem with these particular genetic mutations is that if they are not slaughtered before they are about 8 weeks old, the weight of the bird will break their own puny legs, or they'll just sit at the feeder and eat until they have a heart attack and die. That's the "roaster" in today's commercial market.

So, the fryers may be a week or two younger, maybe not, but they are different birds altogether.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 11:06AM
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