/ Crowning a pheasant

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Kemics - on 03 Feb 2013
Had a brace of pheasants today. We were told that rather than pluck/gut them it's easier to crown by standing on the wings and pulling on the feet. My friend had the first go ...and ended up just pulling the wings off. We think he may have not stood close enough to the body. So my turn, I stand my feet as close as possible....and pull the wings off.

Any tips and tricks, is it something to do with the angle you pull at? Or will this trick not work every time.

This is what we were aiming for - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCyZx-3cSYw
mypyrex - on 03 Feb 2013
In reply to Kemics: Personally I skin them. Remove the tail feathers. Break off the wings at the "elbow". Break the "ankle" joint and cut the skin round the joint. Using a pair of pliers gently but firmly pull the feet away. This should also remove the tendons.

Cut the head/neck off and with a sharp knife slice the skin from the top of the breast down to the tail end. It is then possible to remove the skin and plumage as if removing a coat or jacket.
Nigel Thomson - on 03 Feb 2013
In reply to Kemics: Yeah, take the jacket off it, clean it, heart and liver make nice wee morsels fried too.
NeilMac - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Kemics:

Had they been hung properly? Sounds like they may have been a bit fresh.
Minneconjou Sioux - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to NeilMac:
> (In reply to Kemics)
>
> Had they been hung properly? Sounds like they may have been a bit fresh.

That was my thought also.
TheDrunkenBakers - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Kemics:

I had a brace a couple of weeks ago and plucked the bloody things, took two hours.

Then tried to gut them and destroyed all the good bits inside - i fancied the liver but that ended up squished.

Then cooked them and they had a funny off taste - they were perfectly fresh - and an odd smell.

Not sure we'll have any more
TryfAndy on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Kemics:

I check they've been hung long enough (4-5 days really for my tastes) by seeing if the tail feathers come out easily or not.

After that, I do it pretty much as mypyrex said (using 1 big heavy cleaver-style knife, and a smaller razor-sharp knife, plus a heavy wooden chopping board).
I do the wings as close to the body as I can, then the head, followed by the feet (make sure you keep one hand on the thigh when pulling the foot, as otherwise you'll have the whole leg ripped out!).
After that, it's a case of pulling the skin away from the body by the neck, empty out the crop if needs be, then using the smaller knife, make a 1" slit in the skin and peel it back from the body all around. Chop the 'arse lump' off at the end afterwards.

To get the guts out, lay it on its back, lift the bottom of the breast up and make a very small, careful cut horizontally across the connecting tissue with the sharp knife. You should then be able to 'hinge' the breast upwards, enabling you to get two fingers in the bird (fnar fnar...) and scoop all the guts out. The turd-pipe can take a few tugs to come free, and the heart always seems to remain stuck in there too after everything else. With a bit of practice, you'll get it down to a couple of minutes per bird.
As someone who handles a fair bit of game at a time in the shooting season, and gets it all in the freezer in bulk, I know practice makes perfect!

If all else fails, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbwSGPtLUxw

TheDrunkenBakers - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to TryfAndy:
> (In reply to Kemics)
>
> I check they've been hung long enough (4-5 days really for my tastes) by seeing if the tail feathers come out easily or not.
>
> After that, I do it pretty much as mypyrex said (using 1 big heavy cleaver-style knife, and a smaller razor-sharp knife, plus a heavy wooden chopping board).
> I do the wings as close to the body as I can, then the head, followed by the feet (make sure you keep one hand on the thigh when pulling the foot, as otherwise you'll have the whole leg ripped out!).
> After that, it's a case of pulling the skin away from the body by the neck, empty out the crop if needs be, then using the smaller knife, make a 1" slit in the skin and peel it back from the body all around. Chop the 'arse lump' off at the end afterwards.
>
> To get the guts out, lay it on its back, lift the bottom of the breast up and make a very small, careful cut horizontally across the connecting tissue with the sharp knife. You should then be able to 'hinge' the breast upwards, enabling you to get two fingers in the bird (fnar fnar...) and scoop all the guts out. The turd-pipe can take a few tugs to come free, and the heart always seems to remain stuck in there too after everything else. With a bit of practice, you'll get it down to a couple of minutes per bird.
> As someone who handles a fair bit of game at a time in the shooting season, and gets it all in the freezer in bulk, I know practice makes perfect!
>
> If all else fails, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbwSGPtLUxw


That video is a revelation. I thought that it was best to pluck and leave the skin intact to save the bit of fat that it has.
mypyrex - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:
> (In reply to TryfAndy)
> [...]
>
>
> I thought that it was best to pluck and leave the skin intact to save the bit of fat that it has.

If you are roasting it, yes, you want the skin on. However I find that roasting dries them out too much so I usually casserole mine, skin off.

Kemics - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Kemics:

I think they had been hung for a week?

Yeah I followed a youtube video on it. Was quite easy to kind of peel the skin off and it took all the feathers with it. Only had to actually pluck the tail feathers which came out individually easy but was a struggle if I tried to pull too many at once. Then cut underneath the breast rib cage so you could lift up the whole chest. Reached as far back as possible and pulled the lot out in one go.

We roasted the breast but wrapped it in bacon to stop it from drying out. Kept the legs for a casserole/stew.

Shooting is awesome fun. This might be my new favourite hobby :)
Moley on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Kemics:
The video is spot on, we do lot's of ours like this. Basically if you want to roast the pheasant then you have to pluck it, this we do with the best ones (not shot up or damaged too much). If they don't feel too good, like badly broken legs or body smahed up from a close shot etc. we usually crown them, which is very quick. Cut the breasts and legs off and freeze, use in casseroles, stir fry (excellent) and last night we had a pheasant curry - yep, you can do anything with them! Once you've done a couple the tchnique is easy, quick and efficient.

Sometimes the method doesn't work cleanly, usually due to the bird having been shot and damaged somewhere - like a leg pulls off or wing comes away - if this happens you simply do your best to salvage what you can. I don't find that fresh or hung makes any difference to the method, but it does to the meat and that is personal preference and taste. How long you hang a bird depends on weather and temperature as well.

Which reminds me, I have a last brace in the shed that I shot last Tuesday (beaters day - my once a year shoot!). Best sort them today.
Moley on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to mypyrex:
> (In reply to TheDrunkenBakers)
> [...]
>
> If you are roasting it, yes, you want the skin on. However I find that roasting dries them out too much so I usually casserole mine, skin off.

A tip on roasting pheasant to prevent the drying out. Try putting them into a small bread tin (squash the bird in), place it breast down and 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the tin and foil over the top. Near the end turn it breast up and finish off.
Truthfully the Missus does them all, so I haven't a clue on cooking times etc. but that's the principal for a moist roast pheasant, the only way to roast them.
I just eat!

TryfAndy on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Kemics:

I roast them occasionally, and when I do, I use a lot of streaky bacon on them to keep them moist due to the lack of fat.

My favourite recipe that I've invented this winter, however, involves using them in a pie. I've had a few rather high birds that end up a bit mangled after hitting the floor, and they work fine for it. Recipe as follows:

1. Put pheasant in a deep roasting tin with a spot of water & a few rashers of streaky bacon draped over it. Roast in an 180c oven for 30mins, or until just about done (not going hard/crisping up though). Knock up enough shortcrust pastry now to line your chosen pie dish & to cover the top, then place in a plastic bag in the fridge to chill.

2. Whilst pheasant is roasting, finely chop 1 red onion and 2 cloves of smoked garlic (oak smoked is a personal preference), then soften them in a heavy saucepan with a knob of butter. Add 2 roughly chopped leeks and soften too.

3. Fry up a decent amount of gammon offcuts (around 70p/kg at the butchers here) in a frying pan with a spot of olive oil, and when pretty much cooked, add to the veg pan.

4. Put in a dash of white wine and either single cream or milk until veg & gammon is covered, add a bit of salt & pepper and a bay leaf, then turn up the heat until bubbling, then reduce heat & simmer until it thickens.

5. Remove the pheasant from the oven (leave oven on), leave it to cool for 5mins, then rip the meat off in decent chunks and add to the pan. Stir it all in and cook through for 5mins.

6. Grease your pie dish with butter, and roll out the shortcrust pastry to line the dish. Spoon in your meat, veg & sauce mixture (it shouldn't be too runny, but shouldn't be a paste either!), then put the pastry lid on, remembering to poke a vent hole in the middle. Brush with a little milk then lob in the oven (still at 180c) for 45-50mins.

Yum yum!

mypyrex - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to TryfAndy: That sounds like birdie yum yum ;o(
TryfAndy on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

It's bloody lovely, especially with some roasties & a nice rich gravy with a dash of port & cranberries in it :)
Moley on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to TryfAndy:
The only sadness is that more people don't eat them, very versatile and fat free (relatively) healthy meat - like most game. OK, we get all ours for free - but anyone should be able to pick a few brace up off a local shoot for a pitance, game dealers were only paying 1/brace.

So long as you can be bothered to pluck and draw them, and that is the problem for most people, modern man & woman does not know how or want to know, all too yucky!!

I should add that the season is finished now, so have to wait till next winter.
nufkin - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Moley:
> (In reply to TryfAndy)
>
> So long as you can be bothered to pluck and draw them, and that is the problem for most people, modern man & woman does not know how or want to know, all too yucky!!
>

There's also the problem of breaking your teeth on the lead shot, mind
the sheep - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to nufkin:

I get round that be shooting them with an air rifle. Nice clean head shot so no worries about tooth breakages :-)
Steve John B - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to the sheep: FAC of course...
mypyrex - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to nufkin: You don't get pellets in road kill :)
muppetfilter - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to mypyrex:
You don't get pellets in road kill :)

Does Roadkill cover the use of a cricket bat from a moving vehicle ?

krikoman - on 06 Feb 2013
TryfAndy on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Moley:

I've got a few in the freezer, along with a mallard that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time! Should keep me gastronomically satisfied for a while :)

As for shot, I've never really had much trouble with it. Maybe I'm blessed with birds that have taken the majority of shot to the head (as they should), but I've not had any major dental disasters.
As for air rifles, mine has had a damn good service now (bent shims, wondered why it was 3" off at 30yds!) and is going to be used for subtle dinner-gathering rather soon.
TryfAndy on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Kemics:

Oh, and as for good food for cheap/free, that's what pigeons were invented for :D Got the bird feeder in my garden zeroed in on the scope, just have to wait for them to land & dinner is served :d
aln - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Kemics: I just skinned and butchered my 1st pheasant and feeling pretty pleased with myself. Surprised by how easy it was. Also surprised by the amount of thick yellow fat considering their reputation for leanness.
stumpy - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to TryfAndy: I wouldnt be admiting that on a public forum. Under what part of the General License are you doing this?
Kemics - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to aln:

Yeah I was really surprised about that too.
mkean - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to stumpy:
(In reply to TryfAndy) I wouldnt be admiting that on a public forum. Under what part of the General License are you doing this?

Shooting flying rats with an air rifle on your own land is perfectly legal without any sort of permit unless they have changed the law quietly very recently?
TryfAndy on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to stumpy:

The feeder happens to be right next to my veg patch, and the pigeons use it as a stopping-off point before going to work on my beans & peas. Pest control for crop protection, obviously!
aln - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Kemics: I've saved the heart and liver from the entrails as they're supposed to be tasty. I'm thinking of flash frying them, is that the way to go? Also thinking of doing one of the birds confit style, anyone tried that? And last question, what's the almost spherical, fairly hard organ surrounded by fat, the stomach?
ads.ukclimbing.com
krikoman - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to aln: yes, you can eat this too, cut in half across the disk, remove the liner, it will peel off, roast with the other bits. It's a bit tough but it's all food.

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