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JB

hanging, plucking and gutting

Mrs JB came in today with a brace of pheasant and brace of duck shot by one of her colleagues at the weekend.

How long should I hang these and does anyone have any tips on how to go about plucking and gutting them? Should I gut them quickly as with rabbit or should I leave them intact until I need to pluck them?
Jonnyboy

Leave them intact until you want to prepare them, an unopened cavity gives less chance of bacteria getting in.

I don't like my birds overlly gamey so I leave for 3-4 days max.
judith

Hanging is a matter for personal taste - I rarely hang pheasants for more than a couple of days as I'm not keen on gamey meat. Wild duck doesn't come my way very often, so I can't help there. For both birds, don't gut until you have plucked.

Plucking: do you want to roast the birds or will you be using the breasts/legs separately. I normally do the latter as I find that the legs need long slow cooking and the breasts a lot less. If you will be jointing the birds, then consider skinning rather than plucking - remove the wing tips, pluck a small patch on the breast clean, pull up the skin and slit gently with a sharp knife. You can then "peel" off the skin by simply pulling it, perhaps easing it away with your knife if it is reluctant to part company.
To pluck, I start with the wings and tail, and then try to work over the whole body methodically. I normally end up tearing the skin on the breast a bit, so I don't worry about it - you can always cover it with a bit of bacon!

Gutting: slit the skin along the neck, pulling it apart to give access to the cavity. Carefully remove the crop, then get your knife inside and sever the neck as far down as you can reach. Run your finger around the inside of the cavity to separate the internal organs from the body, then go to the other end! Very carefully, cut around the vent and cut the skin towards the breastbone to make enough room for manoeuvre. Start pulling out the guts - best to get your hand in there and grab it all at once, rather than pulling it all out bit by bit. In your handful of guts, you will also pull out the liver and gizzard - detach these (and remove the bile duct from the liver). Once the main body of the guts are out, have a rootle inside to look for other gibbly bits, then wash the whole bird inside and out.

Think that's about it.
JB

judith wrote:
... gibbly bits ...


Is that a technical term? Very Happy
gil

Length of time hanging depends on weather and where you hang the birds. In cold weather like this, I leave mine in the outbuilding for 5-7 days.

Plucking - I usually start at the neck down the back, then the front, and work towards the other end, with a detour via the wings (but only down to the 'elbow', as I cut the ends of the wings off with meat scissors. Mind you, they always look a bit of a baggy crumpled mess by the time I've finished plucking and gutting - they improve in appearance if you fold their legs and wings in.

For gutting, what Judith said
dpack

i like duck quite fresh
pheasant only a few days old even in the cold
peel pheasants ,pluck ducks
unless they are very young ie summer , pheasant is best slow cooked rather than roasted imho
KILLITnGRILLIT

I like to hang pheasant for at least a few days and up to 2 weeks in frosty weather, Duck however don`t need hanging and need to be done in a day or 3 at the most.

Nice article here about processing pheasant with pics too!!

http://forums.pigeonwatch.co.uk/forums/index.php?showtopic=14621
JB

Well I've dealt with the ducks and what I've learnt is ...

- rabbits are a lot easier to deal with, at least there one can open them up and find all the anatomy!
- it a lot easier to pluck while hanging them from a ceiling by the neck rather than trying to do it on a flat surface
- rupturing their intestine while gutting is a _bad_ idea
- do not pluck in the kitchen unless you want feathers in everything!

Other than that apart from the fact that the first one took me forever it wasn't too bad a job. So which gibbly bits do people keep for stocks and gravies and so on?
KILLITnGRILLIT

JB wrote:

So which gibbly bits do people keep for stocks and gravies and so on?


As above........ http://forums.pigeonwatch.co.uk/forums/index.php?showtopic=14621

Posts 9&10.
JB

KILLITnGRILLIT wrote:
JB wrote:

So which gibbly bits do people keep for stocks and gravies and so on?


As above........ http://forums.pigeonwatch.co.uk/forums/index.php?showtopic=14621


Ta for the link. I ignored it last time as none of the images seem to be downloading here. I'll go away for a reread of the text there.
JB

Got the images now - seems one needs to register to view the pictures (which seems a bit odd!)
judith

JB wrote:
- do not pluck in the kitchen unless you want feathers in everything!


Laughing

The first time I plucked a pheasant, I sat in the bath to do it.
It was quite effective at containing the feathers!
JB

judith wrote:
JB wrote:
- do not pluck in the kitchen unless you want feathers in everything!


Laughing

The first time I plucked a pheasant, I sat in the bath to do it.
It was quite effective at containing the feathers!


As soon as I realised the issue I moved out to the garage. It was a much colder job but at least we didn't have down pizza for dinner Very Happy
KILLITnGRILLIT

JB wrote:
Got the images now - seems one needs to register to view the pictures (which seems a bit odd!)


My apologies, I forgot, it was the admins attempt to avoid offending the general public, who are welcome on the site, as the pictures are of animal body parts and the intention was to not shock or offend.
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