You’ve heard all the jokes, so don’t even go there! Believe me, this pheasant plucking is a serious business, at least if you want the bird to taste good, and it’s easy to go wrong.
First things first, like decorating a house, the success or otherwise is in the preparation. Get that right and the taste of the game will be guaranteed. Let us explain.
The pheasant is closely related to the chicken and so the flavour is mild. You can wet-pluck a bird that is freshly caught but it needs long, slow cooking to achieve any flavour.
For the best flavour the bird needs be hung and then dry-plucked. Hanging a pheasant for three to seven days gives the game its best taste and texture.
Then you are ready to pluck the bird. Patience is required for this, as to rush the process only results in a torn bird. Even an experienced plucker takes their time!
When plucking, remember to pluck not pull. A quick yank of the wrist - no more than two feathers at a time - whilst the other hand holds the bird’s skin down works better than pulling, which will result in torn skin.
You can’t completely avoid tears though, as parts of the bird are easier to pluck than others. Most agree that the legs are the easiest of areas, whilst loose skin areas are most likely to result in tears.
The underfeathers of the pheasant come out easier that the top quill feathers and it is important, as stated before, that only one or two feathers are plucked at a time. Difficult areas include the neck, the breast and where the wings meet the body.
Keep cleaning the bird as you go along, discarding the plucked feathers, as it can be a messy business!
It’s best to leave the breast till last as this can be fiddly and represents the showpiece of the game you bring to the table. As such, you want to make it look it’s best.
And then you are done! With practice and patience, dry plucking a pheasant is more satisfying than merely skinning the bird immediately after a shoot.
The team from the Fox Inn Ansty.
How to find us...
The Fox Inn, Ansty, Dorchester, Dorset
DT2 7PN - Click here for Google Map
Tel: 01258 880328
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Our Usual Opening Hours:
Hotel: Check-in - 3.00pm Check-out: 10.00am
Monday to Saturday: 12.00am - 11.00pm
Sunday: 12.00am - 11.00pm
Carvery: Sundays - 12.00pm until 3.00pm
Afternoon Teas: Mon to Fri 3 to 6pm, Sun 4 to 6pm
Food Served: 12 to 2.30pm and 6 to 9pm
Breakfasts are served each morning from 8.00am to 9.30am. We will cater for non-residents.