Can You Eat a Rooster? A Crowing Good Question!

November 2, 2022

Can you eat a rooster? Yes, you can eat a rooster although the meat is a bit different in taste and texture to chicken.

I didn’t learn that you could eat rooster until very recently! In fact, it was one of my friends who has a farm who introduced me to this concept and I have been fascinated by the idea ever since and have done more research on it.

Check all you need to know about eating rooster meat right here!

Can you eat a rooster

Is It Possible to Eat Roosters?

From a dietary and culinary point of view, yes you can eat rooster meat. It is perfectly safe and edible.

Now, given this, you may be wondering:

Why Do We Not Eat Roosters?

In case you have ever wondered:

Why do we not eat male chickens?

Well, there are a few different reasons for this.

First, and foremost, it is all to do with economics. It is simply cheaper to raise and breed hens.

What’s more, hens lay eggs which provides farmers and manufacturers with another source of income.

However, broiler chickens are specifically raised for meat.

There is also the case of meat production. Now, traditional breed chickens and laying chickens may be a little smaller, but broiler chickens have been bred so that the chickens – specifically the female chickens are quite large.

This means that there is more meat. In turn, the farmers are able to make more money from broiler meat.

As hen meat is more practical and economical, many male chickens are killed when they are young. This way, they don’t become a financial burden.

This is why you don’t find rooster meat all that easily in the grocery store. If you do want some, you will have to visit a backyard chicken raiser.

There is also the question of texture and taste. Most people are simply used to hen meat or chicken meat. Due to this, rooster meat can taste rather odd to people and there isn’t as much of a market for it.

Are Roosters Good to Eat?

Now, this is the million dollar question – what does rooster meat taste like?

Now, I have to say that it is all down to preference. Give someone who is only used to eating chicken meat rooster meat and they will complain about it being too gamey.

At the very least, expect it to have a much stronger flavor than chicken meat.

This doesn’t mean that eating rooster is a bad experience, though. While it is somewhat of an acquired taste, the meat from a male chicken can be quite nice, particular if you enjoy more potent flavors.

Fresh Raw Chicken with Spices

What is Rooster Meat Called?

Now, there are other cultures where eating rooster is fairly common. In places like this, the meat would be referred to as chicken as well. Of course, some people would make the distinction that the meat is from male chickens.

However, it is most likely to be referred to as rooster meat.

You should know that there are types of male chickens known as capon. This is when the rooster is castrated before it reaches sexual maturity.

The castrated rooster is then fed on a diet of either of milk or porridge.

The lack of testosterone as well as the riche diet results in capon meat being a more tender meat. The rooster taste isn’t quite as noticeable either and is far less gamey to boot.

Don’t worry, though, as this kind of meat will specifically be referred to as capon.

How to Choose Rooster Meat?

Here are some tips for choosing rooster meat if you are only used to eating broiler chicken:

Find the Right Source

First things first, you need to find someone to sell you the meat of a roosters. Since not a lot of people eat roosters, this can be a bit of a tricky thing.

While looking at local butchers may help you, it is also a good idea to reach out to local farmers.

Not only are they more likely to have roosters on hand, they may also do the butchering for you. Plus, you can guarantee that they will be far superior to store bought chicken.

Consider the Age

As with broiler chickens, it is important to choose young roosters. The meat will be more tender and it will taste better too.

Look for birds that are about 6 to 8 weeks old. These should be perfect.

They will also be the closest alternative to capons if you can’t find these in the nearby area.

You can eat roosters that are older but they aren’t going to taste as good. They can, however, be used to make broths.

Consider the Size

This is a case of bigger being better. See, as it is roosters aren’t bred for meat. Due to this, they have less meat on them.

If you want to ensure that you get a rooster that is enough for a meal, it is best to get a big bird.

If possible, look for birds that are the same size or bigger than broilers.

Look for Fresh Meat

In case the bird has already been butchered for you, then it is a good idea to check the freshness of the meat.

After all, the fresher the meat, the better that it will taste.

One tip is to press a finger into the flesh. If a dent initially appears but then the meat regains the flat surface, then this means that the meat is fresh.

Cutting Meat on a Wooden Board

How to Cook Rooster Meat?

As you will have learned by now, eating roosters isn’t quite the same as eating chicken meat.

It isn’t just about how roosters taste, the fact that the meat is so much tougher means that you can’t really whip up fried chicken as you would with traditional chickens.

Instead, it is all about going low and slow with this meat. This is why I like to use a crockpot or a slow cooker for my recipes.

Here is one that you can follow for delicious results:

Ingredients

  • 1 young rooster
  • Sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Sprigs of fresh sage
  • 3 tbs. of butter
  • 6 carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

Method

Step 1

Place the rooster in the crockpot or slow cooker. Pour in enough water to cover half the bird. Salt the water.

Cook on low for 6 hours.

Step 2

Take the rooster out of the slow cooker and shred. If you want to make chicken stock or broth later on, set the bones aside.

Step 3

Place the shredded rooster meat back in the slow cooker.

Tie the fresh herbs into a bundle using kitchen twine or butcher twine. Place this in the slow cooker as well.

Season with salt and pepper.

Cook on high for 2 hours.

Step 4

While the slow cooker is working, prep the veggies.

Melt the butter in a pan. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the veggies are translucent.

Add them into the crockpot when the crockpot is an hour away from being done.

Step 5

Once done, spoon into individual bowls and serve with crusty bread.

Top with cheese if you like.

Cooked Rooster with Other Grilled Veggies

Can You Raise Roosters for Meat?

Whether you are suspicious of food suppliers or simply trying to reduce your carbon footprint, you may be wondering about raising your own chickens for meat.

If you are doing so, you aren’t going to be like those big companies that kill the baby roosters – you will be keeping these too!

Well, it is certainly possible for you to do this. You do need the right amount of space, supplies, and will definitely need to do some research before getting started.

However, if you have the will then there is definitely a way for backyard chicken keeping!

Know the Chicken Breeds

It is unlikely that you are going to be just breeding roosters. Due to this, you need to do some research into the breeds of chickens available to you.

If egg production is your primary concern, then you may want to focus on laying hens as well as roosters. These are sometimes referred to as layer chickens.

Now, contrary to popular belief, just because you have laying hens doesn’t mean that you don’t get any meat!

There is such a thing as stewing hens. This are hens that are first raised to produce eggs. However, as they get older, they eventually produce fewer and fewer eggs. Eventually, they may stop altogether.

When they are too old to produce eggs, they can be cooked and are referred to as stewing hens. Therefore, you can eat layer chickens.

Interestingly enough, both stewing hens and roosters are cooked slowly as the meat is kind of tougher.

Once you know what kind of chickens you want, you will know what type of roosters to get as well.

Separate the Breeders

Keep in mind that you can’t eat all of your roosters if you are planning on raising more chickens.

You also need roosters for breeding purposes.

You will need to separate the breeders from the ones that will be used for meat pretty early on.

Keep in mind that roosters should be butchered and cooked while they are still young for the best taste.

Due to this, it is a good idea to figure out which rooster falls into which category sooner rather than later.

Roosters in a Farm

Consider Raising Capons

Since you have already decided that some of the roosters have been reserved for eating, you might as well go ahead and make them capons.

You may need to work with a vet, but have the roosters castrated before they reach sexual maturity. As they will not be used for breeding, this will not be a problem.

You can then guarantee that the quality of your rooster meat will be far superior in both taste as well as texture.

As you can see, there is quite a bit to know and learn about eating roosters. Now that you know all the nitty gritty details, though, you will be able to see what all the fuss is about for yourself.

And, in case you have been wondering about raising your own roosters, well now you know how to do that as well!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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