View Full Version : Plucking Turkeys?

03-20-2010, 05:52 PM
Any advice on Plucking Turkeys, every time I try I end up ripping the skin to shreads and just end up cutting the meat out and cooking it that way. I would like to have a whole bird like you buy in the store with out buying a expensive plucking machine. Any tips tricks or advice would be greatly appreciated!

03-21-2010, 07:44 AM
In the past when plucking ducks,chicken and the like we would pour some hot water over the bird. This seemed to make it easier to pluck the birds. The water has to be hotter than tap water hot, as in heat up a pot on the stove but doesnt have to be boiling hot.

03-22-2010, 07:50 AM
Yep, hot water will do it. You can also just put your bird in boling water for a little while. It's messy. but also works.
God Bless

03-22-2010, 08:31 AM
I'll add a drop of liquid dishsoap to the water... it cuts the surface tension and gets it to the skin quicker.
A quick dunk and a shake is all you need.

03-25-2010, 12:48 PM
I found this on another website, it was made for ducks but if you have a big enough pot I don't see why it wouldn't work for turkeys:

I know some of you pluck your ducks and some of you breast them but here is a method that was used at my friends club that I have started using at home that works awesome. It takes half the time and it gets all the feathers.

Here is what you will need:

A cheap big pot.
Camp stove or you can do it on the barbeque.
parafin wax (I bought mine on e-bay but you can use canning wax or buy it at Michaels)
5 gallon bucket filled with cold water and a little ice.

First set up the camp stove and put the pot on it. Fill the pot about 2/3 full of water then add some chunks of wax until it is about 3/4 full. You do not need a lot of wax in the water, when melted there should be 1/2-1 inch of wax floating on the water. Turn it on high and let the wax melt and bring it just to a boil. I do not suggest doing this on the home stove as you may spill wax while you are transferring birds and the wife will not be happy if you get wax all over her nice stove.

http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/1_325195.JPG (http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/1_325195.JPG)

While the water is coming to a boil here is how I prepare the birds. I cut the legs off at the knees, pull out the tertiary feathers by the armpits and then cut the wings off at the shoulder joints. You then need to do a little bit of plucking on the breast and the back. Do not go crazy and pluck a lot. You only want to pull out some of the feathers to help the wax penetrate to the breast. I didn't take any pictures of this but I will update the post after cleaning birds this weekend.

Once you have the water and wax boiling turn it off you are now ready to wax the birds. Hold them by the head and dip them so they get coated in the wax up to the neck. You do not want to swish them around or dunk them more than once or you will get way too much wax on the bird. a quick dip is all you need. As you are pulling them out use a stick or in my case a chopstick to "squeege" off as much wax as possible. Transfer from here to the bucket of cold water.

http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/2_323028.JPG (http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/2_323028.JPG)

http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/1_552459.JPG (http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/1_552459.JPG)

http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/2_110473.JPG (http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/2_110473.JPG)

http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/3_355865.JPG (http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/3_355865.JPG)

Repeat until you are done with the ducks. You may need more than one bucket if you have all big ducks or are doing more than one limit. Let them cool until they are hard, I like to leave them for 10-15 minutes. More than enough time for a beer or two.

Once they have cooled take them out. You are now ready to pluck them. Place them on a hard surface and push down on them and kind of roll them as you push down. This will crack the wax and make it so you can pull the wax and feathers off. Find a small section that has cracked and pull it off, I'm usually careful with the first piece to keep the skin from tearing. Once you get that first piece off its like peeling an orange. A good trick is to seperate the skin from the wax by working your fingers in between the wax and skin as you peel back the wax. Think of peeling the skin away from the wax and not peeling the wax away from the bird and you will have less issues. Keep doing this until you have all the wax off the ducks. Be careful around where you cut the wings off as the skin is apt to tear here because of cutting of the wings. If the skin should start to tear while you are removing the wax, try working on a different area and getting to the part that is tearing from the other direction. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to keep the skin from tearing whether it would be a really thin skinned duck or you blasted the crap out of it and it looks like a pin cushion.

http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/4_87951.JPG (http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/4_87951.JPG)

http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/5_182220.JPG (http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/5_182220.JPG)

Once done you will have lots of pieces of wax that look like this:

http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/6_16265.JPG (http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/6_16265.JPG)

http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/7_946594.JPG (http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/7_946594.JPG)

But the nice thing is you will have birds that look like this:

http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/4_171844.JPG (http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/4_171844.JPG)

http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/5_498413.JPG (http://www.bloodydecks.com/gallery/files/2/3/3/6/5_498413.JPG)

If you have any questions feel free to ask. This method takes from start to finish (including getting the wax boiling) about 45 minutes but it is faster than plucking ducks, you get a cleaner product and you aren't wasting any of the duck meat like breasting them does. Once you get the wax going you can knock out a ton of ducks in a really short time. This way is also much less labor intensive than plucking.

Once the wax has hardened in the pot, poke some holes in it and drain the water out. All you need to do for the next time is add water and a little more wax.

Some people also melt the wax with the feathers in and strain the feathers out but personally I find that to be too much work.

I haven't been able to find the wax cheap down here yet but if you are anywhere out in the central valley or in most somewhat rural towns you can buy the wax (canning wax) in 10lb blocks for about $10. this amount should last you about a half a season depending on how many ducks you shoot.

03-25-2010, 02:07 PM
ive found it easy if its a fresh kill to pluck till i start to rip skin then i boil some water and dip it in, but for the big feathers i like to use a pair of plyers easyer to get just the feather. ive found it easy to just skin the bird it works just fine.

06-02-2010, 11:24 AM
ive found it easy if its a fresh kill to pluck till i start to rip skin then i boil some water and dip it in, but for the big feathers i like to use a pair of plyers easyer to get just the feather. ive found it easy to just skin the bird it works just fine.

I also do it like this, but do not grap so many feathers at on time,
I use my teeth on the stubborn wing feathers:excited:

07-05-2010, 07:26 PM
yep to all of the above but if you can start on a fresh kill ( 1hr) thars the easiest don't grab big handfulls and yes pull against the grain. I've also used my turkey deep fryer with water and that works well