How you cleaning your birds?
With Dove I had always simply parted them like a peeled orange, then peeled the skin off and cut the wings.
With Quail I would either do the above mentioned method or if I wanted little chickens I'd start between the legs and peel the skin apart and back. Cut the wings, neck and legs and them take a knife and cut out the guts.
Well, just by chance I was in a patient's room for a minute a month or so ago and saw a few minutes of a show called "Project Alaska" (I think that is what it was) and they has shot some snow type birds. The expert was showing some city girls how to clean the birds. They were about the size of a game hen or so. He had them spread the wings, step HARD on the wings and the joint against the body, grab the legs and PULL up and away. If you do it right you get the skin, legs, back and most of the guts to separate leaving you with the breast, head, wings and a few guts. Mostly the heart and lungs. Cut the wings an separate the food pouch and the heart/lungs and head come with it! Super easy, super clean and super fast!
Try it out if you haven't.
I will never clean a small bird any other way ever again!
Pretty much just like this.
[quote]Originally Posted By BillyDoubleU:
They were about the size of a game hen or so. He had them spread the wings, step HARD on the wings and the joint against the body, grab the legs and PULL up and away. If you do it right you get the skin, legs, back and most of the guts to separate leaving you with the breast, head, wings and a few guts.
This is how I do most of my birds unless I want whole, little chickens.
P.S.:The snow birds you probably saw are Ptarmigans (a species of Grouse).
Generally with pheasants I just eat the breast. The legs and wings just seem too little meat and too much ligaments to bother with.
I have found that you can seperate the breast whole from the rest of the bird pretty easily:
1) Lay bird on back with wings spread. With thumb and forefinger of both hands grab the skin of the breast in the middle and pull it apart seperating the skin from the breast all the way to the wing joint and down the belly.
2) Take a sharp knife and put a thumb sized hole right where the breast bone and diaphram meet.
3) Stick your thumb in the hole with the other hand holding down the belly. Pry the breast up away from the guts.
4) Use a sharp knife to cut ribs away from the back and continue to pry up.
5) When you get to the wing joint a few whacks to the remaining joint from inside the bird will seperate the whole breast from the rest of the bird. A heavy knife works, but I suspect if you have a heavy meat cleaver one good whack and that would be all there is too it.
The thing I like about it is all the guts, with the possible exception of heart and lungs you may have to scrape out, are nicely packaged in there and never spray around or leak out all over the place. Rinse the breast and throw the rest of the bird in a plastic grocery bag for the garbage.
Best way to deal with the wings are the little pruning shears you buy at a gardening store, snip and you're done with that.
I generally, just pull the skin back on the breast and use a filet knife to cut the two halves off.