Can You Eat a Rooster?

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Can you eat a rooster? If you’ve found yourself asking this question, it is likely because you aren’t accustomed to hearing about or seeing anyone around you eating this type of bird meat.

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But is it because roosters aren’t safe to eat? 

Not quite. In fact, eating rooster meat is quite common in certain places around the world, and the meat, when cooked and stored correctly, will not harm you. 

Want to know more? Let’s delve into a few of the most popular questions surrounding the consumption of rooster meat.

Table of Contents

gray and red rooster

Is It OK to Eat Roosters?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to eat a rooster. 

Still, if you were to ask someone, “What are the most consumed meats in the world?” it isn’t likely that a “rooster”, otherwise known as a cockerel, would top that list.

Nevertheless, in some cultures, including American culture, the consumption of hen, rather than rooster, is commonplace. In all actuality, however, there are plenty of people from various cultures that consume rooster regularly. 

Generally, the fact that people in America don’t consume roosters regularly has to do with economical reasons rather than safety.

Hens lay eggs and also can be used for meat, while roosters are incapable of raising eggs and typically don’t grow fast enough to be regularly used for meat. It is due to these factors that some cultures, especially American culture, do not eat roosters. 

Why Can’t You Eat a Rooster?

Actually, you can!

There’s nothing wrong with eating roosters. Many countries around the world prefer this type of meat. The countries that don’t tend towards this type of meat most likely prefer hen meat. But that is only because they are easier to raise and pay off more in terms of production as they can lay eggs and can be used for meat regularly unlike roosters.

Why Do We Not Eat Male Chickens?

Why male chickens are not eaten on the regular not only has to do with the fact that hens are more economical, but also the fact that hens tend to taste better according to many.

Of course, not everyone thinks hens taste better than roosters. But by and large, hens are better for roasting and frying. Cultures and people groups who don’t mind eating boiled meat love pairing rooster meat with rice and veggies and boiling it together in the same bag. However, this is not the preferred cooking method for many people in America. 

The problem with cooking a rooster in a style that involves frying and roasting is that the rooster meat can turn out chewy, tough, and unappetizing when cooked this way. Some have found ways to fry a rooster, but they still usually involve braising to some degree. 

raw chicken

At What Age Can You Eat a Rooster?

Roosters are typically ready to eat around 4-6 months of age. 

What Is It Called When You Eat a Rooster?

What Is Rooster Meat Called?

Rooster meat is typically either called rooster, cockerel, cock, capon, or simply “chicken”. 

Bear in mind that a rooster, cockerel, and a cock are all referring to the same thing: a male chicken. 

However, a capon, though still a male chicken, is slightly different.

Capon meat specifically refers to a rooster that has been castrated. Because this castrated rooster is void of hormones, he can produce fluffier and more tender meat than a traditional rooster.

In the past, capon was looked at as luxury meat that was especially fit for the wealthy and for special occasions. Today, however, capon isn’t as widely consumed as it had been.

Can Eating a Rooster Make You Sick?

Yes and no.

Eating a rooster, in and of itself, will not cause sickness.

As long as your rooster is properly prepared, you should not experience any harm or side effects from eating a rooster.

Having said that, eating chicken meat of any sort that is either raw, undercooked, or improperly stored increases the risk of illness. 

How long can meat sit out? Usually, no longer than 2 hours, and that includes rooster meat.

Eating a raw or improperly stored rooster, or hen can give you food poisoning and can lead to:

Symptoms of having eaten a raw rooster may include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramping, low-grade fever, and more.

five brown chickens

What Does Rooster Taste Like?

Rooster is generally regarded as being very flavorful, however, rooster doesn’t taste exactly like a traditional hen chicken.

Rooster meat is a lot tougher than hen meat and may be quite chewy. Still, when cooked correctly, rooster meat can be a delicious addition to any meal.

Capon, another form of rooster meat, differs a bit from traditional rooster flavor.

That’s because a capon is castrated before sexual maturity, and thus, the loss of hormones means that the flesh of the bird is more tender and buttery.

Thus, capon meat, though still rooster meat, differs a lot from a traditional cockerel, but in a very good way! 

Eating Rooster vs Hens

Remember that hen meat is what is traditionally consumed by people in American culture. It is rare that households consume rooster meat, although some who personally raise their chickens may routinely eat this sort of meat.

As those who are accustomed to eating hen meat know, “traditional” hen meat is typically very soft and easy to eat. Hens also have more meat on their bones than roosters, making hens a more viable option for raising, selling, and consuming over roosters.

Roosters, however, have less meat than hens do and have a distinct and robust flavor. The meat can appear stringy, tough, and chewy and can appear much darker than hen meat when doing a side-by-side comparison. 

Which Tastes Better: Rooster or Hen Meat?

When it comes to which meat tastes “better”, we can’t really say. Taste and flavor are subjective and differ from person to person.

If you are a person that is accustomed to eating traditional hen meat, then you may have a difficult time transitioning to rooster meat. 

But that isn’t to say you won’t like it.

Because rooster meat has more of a robust and gamey flavor than does hen meat, you may find that you like rooster more. 

Still, whether or not you’ll like rooster meat more than hen meat will depend on your taste buds. Thus, we won’t make an official call on which is better– you’ll have to decide this one for yourself! 

Colorful rooster perched on stable barn door

How to Prepare a Rooster

Roosters are almost always best cooked “low and slow”. Cooking a rooster at a high temperature will almost undoubtedly produce a slice of tough and unpleasant meat. 

Some have even found success at slowly cooking their rooster in a crockpot on low with a little water or broth at the bottom. Others love boiling rooster meat and making it into a soup.

No matter which method you choose, slow cooking on a low setting will usually produce the most tender meat when cooking a rooster. 

Homemade Robust Rooster and Veggie Soup

Because roosters do tend to yield tougher meat, your best course of action is usually to slow-cook your rooster meat and eat the meat as part of a soup.

Enjoying your rooster as a soup negates a lot of its tough and chewy texture as it slowly cooks in liquid to become more tasty and tender.

Follow the steps below to create a delicious soup using rooster meat. 

Rooster Meat Soup Recipe:

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Rooster
  • 4 Cups of Water
  • 4 Cups Broth
  • A Handful of Fresh Herbs of Your Choice (you can also season your soup with 1 tsp. dried herbs)
  • Veggies of Your Choice
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 tsp. of Salt

Directions:

How To Cook Rooster Meat Soup

  1. Cook

    Place your rooster in a stockpot with water or broth and cook on medium-low heat for 6-11 hours, depending on the size of your bird. Be sure to check to ensure the water does not evaporate. If it does, add more water to the pot.

  2. Shred

    Once your rooster is fork-tender, remove your rooster and shred the meat from the bones using two forks. 

  3. Cook with veg

    Place your rooster meat back in the pot and add into the pot veggies of your choice. We recommend adding celery, onion, and carrot, however, the type of vegetables you add is completely up to you…use whatever you have on hand!

  4. Boil

    Bring your water to a boil then dial down to medium-low heat. Cover the pot and cook until your veggies are fork-tender, usually anywhere from 1-1.5 hours, depending on the types of veggies you choose.

  5. Final touches

    Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.  

Can You Eat a Rooster? You Bet!

So, can you eat a rooster? You certainly can. There are cultures all around the world that enjoy roosters regularly.

In the United States, and other cultures, however, eating roosters isn’t so common. Instead, households regularly consume hen meat which yields more tender meat and a more delicate flavor than their male counterparts. 

Still, rooster meat has its place and is best enjoyed when cooked low and slow. Avoid frying or searing rooster meat as this will likely yield a tough and unpleasant texture. 

We hope this article has helped you understand more about rooster meat! 

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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