After the chickens are cooled, you will want to take the proper steps in aging chicken meat properly before proceeding. Make sure to age your chickens before cooking them, before quartering them and before freezing them. The reason for aging, just like in beef, is to allow the muscle tissue to relax and tenderize before eating. Aged chicken will be more tender and have better flavor than meat processed immediately after the kill.
The older the bird, the more time you should allow it to age. You will be able to adjust your process with experience, but general guidance is to age for 2 days, and no longer than 3 days.
The aging chicken meat process includes the following steps:
- Wrap each chicken in cotton cloth to retain moisture
- Place chickens in a refrigerator
- Ensure sufficient space between birds exists for proper air circulation
- Ideally, place chickens on racks, not solid shelves, to facilitate circulation
- Remove the chicken in 1-3 days for quartering, freezing, canning or eating