Cooking a Pasture-Raised Chicken

Have you ever spent those extra few dollars for a pasture-raised chicken, only to be disappointed when it came time to sit down and enjoy it? 

Pasture-Raised Chicken.jpg

The Problem

There is a reason for this and a very simple solution. 

1.   Pasture-raised chicken can be tough and dry because they have been given opportunity to move around naturally during their lives.  This makes them leaner and more muscled that their cousins, the CAFO raised birds. 

2.  Improper preparation and over-cooking contribute to your disappointment.

The Solution

When we are aware of these differences a little extra attention to the preparation and cooking method used will retain all that amazing flavor, moisture and tenderness that we anticipate. That amazing flavor comes from being able to consume as much fresh grass and legumes that our lush pastures have to offer, all the while enjoying the warm summer sun.

How We Raise Pastured Chickens

IMG_0388.JPG

When the baby chicks arrive at our post office, they are taken to the brooding area where they will spend the first three weeks of their life.  The brooding area mimics the environment of a mother hen raising her chicks.  In the brooder they are kept extra warm and dry.  Sometime in their fourth week, depending on outdoor temperatures the young birds are moved out to the pastures where they will spend their remaining weeks chasing bugs and eating fresh forages.  Between ten and twelve weeks of age they are taken to the processor where they are made freezer-ready for you.

Are you ready to order your pasture-raised chickens?  Simply click here for details on ordering and to reserve your chickens.  When we confirm your order we will make arrangements for the $15.00 deposit and let you know when they will be ready for pickup. 

We like to slow roast our chicken for a longer time in the oven.  We also really appreciate the slow-cooker.

Here is a simple recipe that will give you a simply delicious roast chicken every time. It is perfectly easy and bursting with flavor.

Tips for Roasting the Perfect Pastured Chicken 

1.  Roast the chicken breast side down: The breast is where the white meat is, and the white meat tends to be the driest. Roast the bird breast side down and the juices from the darker meat will help keep the breast moist.

2.  Roast at a lower temperature, for longer: We roast our pastured birds at 325 degrees, for about 3 hours. The skin still gets crispy and browned, but the bird stays moist. .(That is for a 3-4lb bird. Oven temps vary from stove to stove, and chicken size varies. Use a cooking thermometer put into the meatiest part of the thigh. Be careful that the thermometer is not touching bone so the temp registers meat temp not bone temp. Poultry should be cooked to an internal temp of 165.)

3.  Seal in moisture and add humidity. Oil the bird with olive oil to help seal in the juices. And either add some stock or water to the bottom of the pan or roast the bird on a bed of root vegetables: This is not only functional, but delicious.  The chicken gets moisture from the vegetables as they roast, as the water in the vegetables creates a bit of humidity under the bird.

4.  Let the bird rest. Your chicken should sit for at least 20 minutes after roasting so the juices settle. This is a common rule for all roasts, but critical for a pastured bird. Let the roasted chicken rest before slicing into it, so when you do carve it, the meat will be moist and flavorful.


Farmhouse Roast Chicken

Preheat your oven to 325 F.

Place one completely thawed pasture-raised chicken in a dutch oven and pat dry.

In a food processor, combine 4 TBSP coconut oil, 1 TBSP lemon juice, 3 – 4 cloves garlic, ½ tsp rosemary, ½ tsp sage, ½ tsp thyme, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.  Blend well.

Using your hands, slather the entire chicken with the paste, making sure to get in all the nooks and crannies.  Use all the paste.  You can even scoop some into the cavity of the chicken.

Place chicken breast side down.  Add ½ inch water or broth to the pan.

If you want a one dish meal you can add chopped carrots and quartered potatoes. 

Roast for 1 hour covered.  Uncover than continue roasting until internal temperature measures 165 F.  Adjust cooking time to size of your chicken.


Have you been searching for local, farm fresh food?  Do you want your children to know where their food comes from?  Look no further.  We invite you to join us on our farming adventure.  When you sign up you will receive weekly farm news, updates on farm, fresh food availability, free recipes, upcoming farm event announcements, a few rants plus so much more.