Why are the free-range chickens I buy so...stiff?
I buy free range chickens from a local farm, frozen. They taste good enough: lots of flavor, though tough.
When the chickens are fully defrosted (uncooked) they are INCREDIBLY stiff - like I've never seen before. Almost like they're in rigor mortis. It's very disconcerting.
I've asked the farmer if the chickens are just old, but he's told me they aren't. I believe him because he does sell his old chickens, separately.
Roasting these birds is out of the question. Way too tough - but poaching and braising they come out delicious. Farmer tells met his is because they are "free range"... but I've roasted many free range chickens and they come out quite tender.
Would love some info on this!