Cook’s Venture: Is This “Perfect” Chicken?

I got seduced by an ad on Facebook for “perfect” chicken. Chicken? Yes, heirloom, pasture-raised, slow growth chicken from a company called Cook’s Venture. Perfect? Read on.

You get to put together a box of meat for $149 (shipping included) which seemed like a pretty good deal, for good chicken and beef (grass fed, pasture raised). I created my box, which was heavy on chicken, but also included some skirt and strip steaks.

They were great about postponing my shipment for a week, so I could try to put a dent in my overflowing freezer. The box arrived—beautifully packaged and weighing a ton. Even in the heat we’ve been experiencing, everything was still frozen thanks to 2 huge ice packs that could be reused or safely poured down the drain after thawing out.

The meat is all vacuum-packed and frozen. We tried the skirt steaks, and they were more flavorful and more tender than what I’ve been getting at the market.

Today, I’m putting the whole chicken to the test and doing it the Zuni Café way. It might be cheating a little because almost any chicken is delicious done this way, but a wonderful chicken (like D’Artagnan’s Green Circle Chickens) takes it to another level.

When I was prepping the chicken, I noticed that it wasn’t as rounded/plump as the ones we get from our butcher. It seemed to be longer and flatter-more like a duck. And the wings and legs looked longer too.

The whole chicken was a little disappointing. For some crazy reason (too much free ranging?) the legs and thighs were really tough. It tasted good and as chewy as the legs were, the little bit of breast that I tried was juicy and tender.

The order also contained half chickens marinated in a tandoori spice blend. We roasted one and tried it. The spice blend was good, perked up by a squeeze of lemon, but again, the chicken was a little tough.

My only complaint about the box, so far, is that instead of a bunch of chicken thighs we received a lot of boneless skinless chicken breasts, and it took 2 emails to customer service to get it resolved. So if you have a recipe that will make me like chicken breasts, please share!

If the rest of the steaks are really good and I somehow become a chicken breast fan (a very tall order), we might order another box from Cook’s Venture, but it’s not perfect and right now, there’s a lot in my freezer to eat through.


7 thoughts on “Cook’s Venture: Is This “Perfect” Chicken?”

  1. As you now know, Cooks Venture abruptly shut down, leaving the poultry folks high and dry. Cooks Venture euthanized (suffocated) all the chickens that the poultry farmers were raising for them. Then, they left the carcasses to the farmers to dispose of. Most are rotting in warehouses (where the chickens were raised). No one from the company thought to donate the chicken to food banks or the like. So much for big talk about regenerative farming. They also talked a lot about how bad genetic companies were using proprietary genetics to produce food. Cooks Venture has done the Monsanto thing and had proprietary genetics on their ‘heritage’ birds. Over $150 million raises in a couple of years. Will they account for where the $ went? Those that contracted with them are now stuck with trying to get rid of millions of dead birds.

  2. Somewhere I found a link on preparing & cooking pasture raised chicken. Yes the meat is tough if handled the way we handle supermarket chicken. Defrost in frig – a full 2 days. Let sit another 24 hours in fridge. I cook the drumsticks in slow cooker with onions, garlic & lemon, s&p. Delicious, falls off the bone, tender. I make chicken salad & chicken noodle soup, pot pie, burritos, empañadas. Thawing a whole chicken right now. Chicken nuggets (breaded) were not excellent. Ooky parts inside were off-putting.

  3. I agree. I’m a dark meat girl but found the thighs and legs from the whole birds we got were really tough. It was like the chickens had to run around too much! They sent us breasts by mistake and they were pretty tender but I didn’t notice any great flavor.

  4. Hello –

    I purchased a box of Cooks Venture chicken – I was very impressed with the packaging and the way it arrived frozen.

    I grew up in the country in the mid 60’s and we raised our own chickens for eggs and meat. Our chickens had a yard and were fed vegetables, vegetable scraps and chicken grain from the local farms – pure organic before the world started using the word organic. They were the best tasting eggs and chicken ever. That’s what I was expecting when I purchased Cooks Venture chicken.

    My husband and I are quite disappointed. We have had 4 meals so far…2 pkgs of drumsticks and 2 pkgs of thighs and all of it was TOUGH, didn’t fall off the bone and didn’t taste any better than the organic/pastured raised chicken I purchase in the store.

  5. Soak the defrosted breast in 1/4 cup salt water solution for 15 min out of refrigerator or longer in refrigerator. Rinse well and pat dry prior to cooking.

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