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How to Pluck a Bird

Updated on January 17, 2012
  1. Start with the wings, then the neck and, working down to the tail, pluck out the feathers, pulling them upwards away from the bird. Great care must be taken to avoid tearing the skin.
  2. Tweak out the quill ends.
  3. Singe the bird, if necessary, to remove any hairs or down, being careful not to burn the skin.
  4. Cut off the head at the top of the neck.
  5. Place the bird on a table, breast down, slit down the neck and pull away the loose skin, but do not cut it off.
  6. Pull out the windpipe and crop. Cut the neck very close to tho spine.
  7. Make a short cut between the vent and tail.
  8. Place the first two fingers of each hand inside both ends of tho bird to loosen the inside.
  9. Withdraw the fingers from the neck end and, holding the bird firmly, draw out the intestines, heart, gizzard and liver with the gall bladder attached, taking care not to break the latter.
  10. Cut away the gall bladder from the liver. Retain the liver. heart, neck and gizzard, split and clean the gizzard in cold water. These are the giblets. They are used for stock or gravy.
  11. Cut the skin around the joint at the bottom of the drumstick and twist off the lower part of the leg. If the sinews do not come away, thread a fork or skewer between them, twist it around and pull them out.

To Truss a Bird

  1. If the bird is to be stuffed this is done before trussing by placing the stuffing in the loose skin from the neck, pressing it down well into the body of the bird.
  2. Fold the skin from the neck smoothly under the back of the bird, which should be breast side up, and fold the ends of the wings backwards and under to secure this.
  3. Press the legs down into the sides.
  4. Thread a trussing needle with thin string and pass this through one wing joint, through the body, out at the top far leg, back through the other wing joint and out again at the top of the leg on the near side. Tie the string firmly.
  5. Thread the needle again and pass the string through the back of the bird beneath the drumsticks, through both drumsticks and then tie the string.

N.B. If you do not have a trussing needle, secure the bird with two skewers, one through the wings and pinning the neck flap to the body, the other passing through the drumsticks.

To Joint a Bird

  1. Slit the skin round the junction of the legs and body and pull the legs outwards and downwards so that the thighs break and the legs can be separated from the body. These may be left whole or divided into thigh and drumstick.
  2. The wings are cut, taking a line from the breastbone downwards, to include a slice of the breast.
  3. The breast is then separated from the back and cut in half length wise.


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