The last rooster we butchered turned out to be very tough, stringy, and chewy, even after boiling his carcass for hours. A friend told me she had the same experience with older roosters. These birds weren't really "old", having hatched out in late June, but if you are after a tender bird, one you might use for frying, it needs to be butchered by the age of twelve weeks. When I told my cousin, who was raised on the farm, about our experience with the tough meat, she informed me that a pressure cooker would solve the problem. So I invested in the cheapest aluminum pressure cooker I could find. It's a four-quart model, which is really tiny. Looking back, I wish I had spent twice the money and gotten a larger, stainless steel cooker. That's the story of my life: spend in haste, regret at leisure.
Sunday we butchered the roosters. I left one carcass submerged under water for twenty-four hours, but the other I brought straight into the kitchen, cut him up enough for his whole body to fit in my tiny pressure cooker, and followed instructions in the book that came with my cooker. The longest time suggested for a whole chicken was fifteen minutes, so once the jiggler started jiggling, that's what I punched into the timer on my microwave.
He came out tough and stringy. Unwilling to toss him out, I cut the meat up in tiny pieces against the grain, put the pieces in the broth, and made noodles, which were delicious. The meat had a wonderful flavor, but we had to do quite a bit of chewing.
"Maybe leave it in the pressure pan longer?" Cliff suggested.
So next day, I cooked the second rooster for twenty-five minutes.
Success! We each had a bite of the meat, and it was tender, not chewy at all.
No, I didn't make chicken and noodles two days in a row. I deboned the chicken and put the meat and broth in a gallon freezer bag for FUTURE noodles. But now I know that sometimes you have to play around with the timing when you're using a pressure cooker.
I sure do wish I had gotten a bigger, stainless steel cooker, though.
Here is the pan I bought for $25:
HERE is the one I wish I had purchased. The cost is $45.99. Half again the size, and it's stainless steel.