PLUCKING PHEASANTS 101
Since I started posting recipes to my website, I have been slowly
updating many recipes with a pictorial essay of how to do the recipe from
start to finish which is
time consuming but yet is still a lot of fun to do so. Many times, I
get discombobulated placing the proverbial cart before the horse and try to
do a little better the next time.
I already had a recipe for
on my Wild Game page using an
adapted recipe for Cornish Game Hens and started looking around to find a
couple live or processed pheasants to do the recipe.
I talked with Capt. Robert Webster, retired
NCDPS and he recommended
that I go to Thompsonís Game Birds in Mt. Gilead, NC and see if he had any
on hand of which I did. I called Capt. Quinton Thompson, also retired
from the NCDPS who lives in Mt. Gilead and he knew the owner Brad Thompson
very well. I met Quinton on December 11th at
LEFLER'S PLACE, a small
BBQ and Grill restaurant on
highway 73 and followed him to Thompsonís Game Birds. The owner Brad
Thompson was still deer hunting so we went back to the restaurant where Brad
had then showed up and I ordered a sausage/egg sandwich on a bun with mayo and a
cup of coffee. Pix of Brad at his Game Bird Farm:
Click on below thumbnail pixs for a larger screen view:
After that quick snack, we rode to Thompsonís Game Birds and I purchased a
couple live male pheasants and enjoyed talking with Brad Thompson and he
gave me a quick tour of his operation. I asked him if I could come
back and take some pictures and he said it would be ok and I plan to do so
in the future and add them to this short story. He had more than 600
plus pheasants and at least that many Bob White Quail and he said that a
Game Preserve was coming to pick up his entire inventory of pheasants within
a few days and/or week and I got there just in time. It was a little
comical to see each pheasant have a pair of green colored
attached behind their upper beak which was held in place with a hog ring.
The purpose of those colored blinders was to prevent the pheasants from
pecking one another and I have seen stories about them on TV before. I
believe that the turkey growers clip a small portion of the tip of the beak
off the turkeys to prevent them from doing damage to one another also.
Pix of Brad Thompson and Capt. Quinton Thompson inside one of Brad's
houses for quail.
Brad put the pheasants in my live coon trap and I got them back home and
later on in the afternoon after a trip to Rockingham, NC to the Pizza Inn,
got my gas burner fired up and put on a big pot of water to heat up and scald the
feathers off the pheasants since I wanted to keep the skin on them for
roasting which should render more moist meat. Pix below of the
pheasants with the green blinders attached to them. They are beautiful
birds and I did feel a little remorse and pity for them but they were grown for this
Below pixs of the gas burner/stand, etc.:
Only a couple tools needed for this job. The hatchet reminds me of
the story about
George Washington as a young lad chopping down his Dad's cherry tree
which most believe is only a myth........grin if you must!:
The little Eastwing belt hatchet made quick work of getting the pheasants
ready for the
scalding water and let them hang and bleed out as much as
possible. The poultry processing plants will shackle the legs of the
birds to an overhead conveyer system and will shock the bird with an
electrical current to prevent all the flopping around and they will then pass
through a knife or saw blade that slits their throats and then remove the
entire head once adequate bleeding has occurred. Birds will then
enter the scalding tank with time and temperature doing its magic to loosen
As a boy growing up, when it was chicken killing time, my Grandma would
wring the necks off the chickens and they would run around as if they still
had their heads on. That is where the old saying came from,
around like a chicken with it's head cut off." Most males would
the chickens head off with a hatched or small axe being much quicker and
more humane for sure.
One thing about removing feathers from chickens or any kind of fowl using
scalding water, the water temperature has to be the right temperature; e.g.,
below the boiling
point (145 degrees ideal), otherwise you can set the feathers meaning that it is very difficult
to remove them and the same goes for "setting
the hair" on a hog too. You can't leave them in the
scalding water but just enough time to loosen the feathers., etc.
a trial and error procedure for myself. Below one of the pheasants moved around in the water to loosen the feathers.
I had to put the pheasant down to capture the image:
Below is getting close to what you see in the grocery store and/or market
with the exception of the feet cut off at the ball joint and the neck cut
back flush with the breast/back area.
I used a gas flame to remove the fine "hair" from the pheasant:
Next, time to remove the internal organs. My bride scolded me about
this pix but this is part of the processing that you do not experience when
purchasing meat at the grocery store and/or super market::
I will not be making any giblet gravy, therefore I will not save the heart,
lungs, kidneys, gizzard and neck. That is one
below ready to soak overnight in a salt and brown sugar brine.
Pheasant in brine solution ready to be placed in the refrigerator.
To see the finished product of this pheasant, visit my
pheasant page. What the heck, I will give you a sneak preview
Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 12-12-13 with updated pixs on