Pigeon without a knife

23rd March 2013

Yesterday we showed you a quick and simple way of preparing a pigeon. Today we’ll show you an alternative way that doesn’t require a knife, this is the way we teach students on our Weekend Course.

Warning this blog contains images of animal butchery! Please do not look if this offends you.

1. The first stage is to remove the head of the pigeon. Simply grab the head and pull…..it comes off surprisingly easily!


2. Next we need to remove the wings at the shoulder joint. Hold the breast of the bird in one hand with a finger either side of where the wing joins the body. With the other hand grab the wing as close to the shoulder joint as possible and twist until the wing comes away. It is much more firmly attached than the head.


3. Once both wings are removed, you need to locate the entrance to the chest cavity at the base of the neck.  If the pigeon has been shot after feeding, this may be obscured by its food filled crop. Simply grab the whole crop, food and all, and pull to remove.


4. With the palm of one hand cupping the breast of the pigeon insert a thumb into the the top of the chest cavity. Wiggle this thumb around to open up the space then with the other hand cup the back of the bird and insert the thumb on this hand into the same hole so that your thumbs are lying back to back.


5. Pull the front and back of the bird apart with your hands, pivoting at the tips of you thumbs. Be forceful especially at first to get it going. You are simply pulling the back bone and ribs away from the breastbone.


6. Once the two halves are pulled apart, pull away any innards that are adhering to the inside of the breast (normally heart, lungs and sometimes the gizzard) this should reveal the inside of the tip of sternum.



7. Once this is revealed, get a thumb underneath the tip of the breast bone and peel away from the skin. You should be able to completely remove the crown (both breast fillets with the breastbone) and end up with that in one hand and the rest of the bird in the other.


8. You could stop there and simply wrap the crown in bacon and roast it.  Alternatively if you want to remove the breast fillets, simply force your thumb between the meat and the sternum at the bottom end of the crown. Insert your thumb and use it to ease the meat away from the bone.  Take your time working up the sternum and over the wishbone.


9. Repeat with the other fillet.


10. If you only require the breasts you can stop at this point. If you want the legs as well go back to the other half of the pigeon and expose the top of legs and pull through as we described yesterday.  Bend back at the hip joint to dislocate the hip then simply twist the top of the leg away from the body.


11. To remove the foot, simply break the ankle joint by bending in the opposite way to which it normally bends then twist and pull off the foot. Repeat with the other leg. You now have a prepared pigeon without using a knife.


Kev Palmer

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