Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Capon Fear


Dirk Wheelan
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have just become the proud owner of a five kilo free-range capon. According to my books cooking times are calculated on a 25 minutes per 450 grams at 190C basis. This means that I need to roast the bird for approximately 4 hours, which sounds like an awfully long time.

The idea I have is to leave the bird in the oven on Christmas morning while I go and climb a mountain. Consequently, I won't be around to prod etc. and I am now living in fear of arriving home to find I must serve my family with desiccated capon.

If I roast chicken, I generally leave to come up to room temperature, blanch it in boiling water and roast it at 130C, with a final blast at 200C for crispness and colour, followed by twenty minutes rest. Of course, I don't go by cooking time tables as I'm there to oversee the cooking and the whole process takes under an hour. The problem I have now is to confidently extend this process to a much bigger bird.

Does anyone have any successful experience with this size of poultry?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Get yourself a digital probe thermometer - the kind you can insert in your bird when you put it in the oven. Set it to ring when the appropriate tempurature is reached (which will depend upon where in the bird you stick the probe) and no worries!

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Capon Fear? I had visions of a very large bird with a tatooed back doing chin ups like DeNiro.

I would treat the beast like a turkey Breast side down for 1/2 hour then flip it and cover with a foil tent and cook it till it reaches 155 on an instant read. Pull off the tin foil tent and finish it till it reaches 165. Basting the heck out of it.

**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Capon fear?

My first thought was about the hormones injected into the neck of the very young male, to cause him to grow up fat and effeminate.

I wouldn't keep any neck parts of these birds...

Aren't they just castrated? You know, chicken eunuchs?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to update, should anyone else be considering doing the same.

I cooked my 4,850 gram capon for five hours at 110C. Far too much, unfortunately. I think this could be for couple of reasons: that my oven is poorly calibrated at lower temperatures; that my usual habit of roasting meat that has previously been allowed to reach room temperature exponentially influences cooking times as weight increases; or, most likely, a combination of the two things.

Regarding the probe thermometer, I do have one and would have used it had I not been up a mountain. Nevertheless, a probe thermometer only tells you when something is cooked, not how long it will take, and when you're trying to plan a multi course meal for twelve people you need to decide on an approximate time at which to begin eating and work your cooking times around that. It's no good saying the turkey's ready at 12:00 if you're not sitting down to eat until 15:30. This is why approximate cooking times are so necessary, especially for larger pieces.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i ordered a capon about the same size but had my butcher cut it in half. roasted just half for christmas day and it was done in just about 2 hours at 325F. this gave me plenty of time to let it rest and degrease the pan drippings for gravy.

will do the other half new years day....

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Capon fear?

My first thought was about the hormones injected into the neck of the very young male, to cause him to grow up fat and effeminate.

I wouldn't keep any neck parts of these birds...

Aren't they just castrated? You know, chicken eunuchs?

Yes, but not a physical castration: a massive hormone shot goes into the neck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Capon fear?

My first thought was about the hormones injected into the neck of the very young male, to cause him to grow up fat and effeminate.

I wouldn't keep any neck parts of these birds...

Aren't they just castrated? You know, chicken eunuchs?

Yes, but not a physical castration: a massive hormone shot goes into the neck.

How widespread is this chemical castration rather than physical?

I has 'label rouge' capon from France for Christmas which was excellent. I am curious whether it was physically or chemically done. I googled a bit but only found references to physical castration.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Capon fear?

How widespread is this chemical castration rather than physical?

I has 'label rouge' capon from France for Christmas which was excellent. I am curious whether it was physically or chemically done. I googled a bit but only found references to physical castration.

My understanding from a veterinarian is that chemical castration, using progesterone in the back of the neck, is preferable to removing the testicles from a smal bird. A shot with a syringe is much easier than surgery.

I don't know what they do in Bresse.

Perhaps some farmers markets in North America have surgically altered capons, done on a small scale.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am going to ask a really dumb question here. First . . . a confession. I don't think I have ever eaten a capon. Does it taste like chicken? :blink:

I am serious. I sometimes need to do a larger bird for whatever reason and I pretty much hate turkey. The only turkey that I have liked is deep fried or turkey confit. I see capons at the grocery and think that they might be a good substitute. About the largest roasting chicken I have ever found was a nine pounder (Butterball). How big do capons get? Are they fatty? Is the fat really good in that I would want to dip it off the roasting pan and save it? How does a capon compare to a chicken as to taste and texture?

I am in obvious need of education. :raz:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many years ago in Detroit, I bought a capon at one of the big farmers' markets. It came with everything. I mean EVERYTHING. Well, except the usual male appurtenances. Back then, it gave me minor hysterics to reach in and pull out all the various viscera, and chop of the extremities (thank god at least it had been plucked). But I forged on, or in as it were. Roasted that sucker all nice and neat. And it tasted like . . . yes, chicken. Hey, that's what it is, after all. :biggrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

linda-

at christmas all my mil kept saying was how moist it was - and i had only cooked half of one!! the people i buy from have a very large farm in the hudson valley of new york and have been raising chicken.capon, turkeys, etc for several generations. i treat it more like a chicken than a turkey. as i type there is the other half in the oven. it rests on a bed of aromatics and was seasoned with salt, pepper and some ground sage. roast at 325 for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. i'll carve the breast for us and keep the leg and bones to do soup. i really prefer them to chicken or turkey - maybe because they are free range. hmmmm..... note to self - try their turkey later this year and do a comparison.

you might also check out the area to see if anyone raises them locally. since i know where these guys come from and how they are raised i buy them and bring them back home for use.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am going to ask a really dumb question here. First . . . a confession. I don't think I have ever eaten a capon. Does it taste like chicken? :blink:

I am serious. I sometimes need to do a larger bird for whatever reason and I pretty much hate turkey. The only turkey that I have liked is deep fried or turkey confit. I see capons at the grocery and think that they might be a good substitute. About the largest roasting chicken I have ever found was a nine pounder (Butterball). How big do capons get? Are they fatty? Is the fat really good in that I would want to dip it off the roasting pan and save it? How does a capon compare to a chicken as to taste and texture?

I am in obvious need of education.  :raz:

I haven't eaten one for several years, but I don't remember them being any different than a large roasting hen. They grow very quickly, so there is a certain amount of fat, as they are not able to fly, (penned) nor do they have a chance (or desire) to fight other males. A Cook's Illustrated Dictionary says they have more white meat than a hen. They also mention that capons cannot be raised in England...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies. Next time out that I need to do a big bird I will try one.

Why can't they raise them in England? Is it because of the hormone injections? If that is it, maybe it just isn't practical to do the . . . er . . . clipping surgically.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've always found them to be moister, fattier, and quite a bit more flavorful (in a game poultry kind of way) then chickens. If I had enough to eat it, I'd never make a chicken over a capon. Or a turkey either, for that matter.

Also, due to the extra fat, they're a lot less likely to have the breast burn before the rest is done like a chicken or turkey.

I want pancakes! God, do you people understand every language except English? Yo quiero pancakes! Donnez moi pancakes! Click click bloody click pancakes!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...