breasting a pigeon

Pigeon is a hugely underrated wild meat. Images of lice infested, one legged, scrawny scavengers that swarm around Trafalgar Square spring immediately to mind. However few wild meats are finer than its country cousin, the wood pigeon (Columba Palambus). A superfast, super alert bird that feeds on grains, lives a wholesome life jetting across the woodland canopy or being the bane of the farmer and his crop. They have been classed as ‘vermin’ –  a pest that has an open hunting season all year round.

With its super-alertness and dark, lean, tasty meat it is no wonder that other nations, like the Italians (having virtually cleared the skies of the pigeon with their hunting of the bird) pay huge sums to come to Britain to hunt it here. They know something that obviously the average Brit does not. Far from condoning the eradication of this fine bird, it is however very numerous and there are over 20million of them in the UK. Its a wild, free and fantastic source of meat – finer than pheasant in my opinion.

Having obtained your quarry here is a simple, no tools, method of getting the meat off the bird and ready for your campfire cookpot. A simple step-by-step guide for breasting a pigeon without anything but your hands. Can be done in 10 seconds.

click on image to enlarge it

1. dead pigeon

2 & 3. grip wings and twist off

4. grip neck and twist off

5. clear crop (neck)

6. stick thumbs in under breast bone and back bone (front/back)

7. turn inside out

8. peel breasts away from carcass

9. clean up breast.


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