Options for Field Dressing a Turkey
Check your games laws as some states require you the check the bird in fully intact.
Field Dressing a Turkey
If it is warm, field dressing your bird is a good idea to protect the meat from getting spoiled.
Start by placing the turkey on its back. Find the bottom of the breast plate and insert your knife, making a cut to the anus. Remove the entrails from this opening and then reach into the cavity to sever the windpipe, heart and lungs. Cool the cavity by placing ice inside the chest.
Breasting Out the Bird
Lay the turkey on it's back. Remove just enough breast feathers so as to expose the skin.
Remove the breast by pulling or cutting just he skin back from the breast.
Make cuts along each side of the breastbone as well as on the inside of both wings. Work from the rear of the breast forward, filleting off the breast by pulling the fillet and using your knife as needed. Repeat this for the other side of the breast.
Now that the breast have been removed make a cut through the thigh muscle where it attaches to the back. Then grab the thigh or leg and pull up until you can feel the joint pop. Cut through the thigh until it comes free from the turkey's body.
Plucking a Turkey
Before you remove the entrails or field dress the turkey remove the feathers after dipping the bird in hot water. Hot water makes plucking easily. Plucking does take a bit of time and effort but some people prefer turkeys cooked with the skin on.
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