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plucking pheasants


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I usually skin my pheasants, but am interested in learning how to pluck them (I understand that this will lead to a juicier roast pheasant). Can anybody describe the pheasant plucking process and any tricks to make plucking easier and pitfalls to avoid?

Thanks in advance.


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No big trick. Just pull the feathers out as much as you can. Then boil water and add parafin wax (any good hardware store will have the wax)to the boiling water. The wax will float on the water. Grab the pheasant by the legs and dip in the water a couple of times. Remove bird and let the wax harden. Once the wax has hardened on the bird peel off the wax. This will remove most if not all pin feathers.

Bake & eat.

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If you try to pluck any feathers "dry" late in the year you will tear the skin. I skin my birds now but growing up we use to pluck every single one of them. It's real simple. Just need a larger pot, some water and maybe some beer.

Fill pot up with water and turn stove top on high. Sit back with a beer or two after the hunt until the water is to a "rolling boil". Pre pull the tail feathers out, as much as possible, and cut off the head and the wings. KEEP FEET ON. While holding the legs place bird into the hot water (now off of the stove) and hold him there. Make sure to move it around and spread legs apart so that hot water gets everywhere. You'll want to have it in the water for 20-30 sec.

Time does make a difference. Too short or long and the feathers are tough to come out (better to be in the pot longer then shorter). Feathers should come off very easily. You'll want a torch or lighter to burn off the hairs that are left on the skin.

Proceed to cut legs off and gut.

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I pluck all my pheasants dry, you just have to be careful and only take a few feathers at a time. They usually pick better when warm than cold. With one hand you try to hold the skin down against the bird and you pluck with the other. Try to grab at the base of the feathers when plucking and give a quick tug. The long rust colored breast feathers like to tear so only take a couple at a time. Back feathers are not as fussy.

It can take a couple tries to get it down. If the skin begins to tear, press down real tight around the tear and pluck one feather at a time.

Sound like it would take a long time but it isn't bad and I do think it helps keep the bird moist.

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