Making capons by caponizing young male chickens is becoming a lost art, but it is one with which we have had experience over the years. A capon is a castrated chicken, the equivalent of a steer. It is accomplished by a surgical procedure. Instead of turning into a tough rooster, the capon becomes larger, more flavorful, tender and juicy. Indeed, we prefer a roast capon to turkey.
George Beuoy of Kansas was known as the “Capon King”, having promoted the capon as a delicacy, and he sold thousands of capons. He developed, manufactured, and sold the instruments to produce capons for home use. He also published many books, claiming to have sold more than 1,000,000 of them during his lifetime. His books publicized the capon, but also advertised his instruments, and gave instructions for turning cockerels into capons.
There was a time when hormonal chemicals were injected into the cockerels with the intent of producing a capon without surgery. By the time that it was discovered that the chemicals were causing cancer, the market for capons was diminished, and the surgery deemed obsolete.
Recently one of our friends asked that I teach her to make capons, as chefs at high class restaurants have requested that she supply them with capons. This has renewed my interest in the subject, and I have read through my library of capon publications, and, also, downloaded several that have been digitized from other collections.