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What's the best way to remove shot from a game bird while you're cleaning it? I never seem to find all the pellets. A friend of

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  • What's the best way to remove shot from a game bird while you're cleaning it? I never seem to find all the pellets. A friend of

    What's the best way to remove shot from a game bird while you're cleaning it? I never seem to find all the pellets. A friend of mine almost broke a tooth when he bit down on one.—L.S., Roanoke, VA

  • #2
    Whether you're cleaning a light-meat bird or a dark-meat bird, it's tough to find all the hidden pellets.

    One method is to use the point of a sharp knife to make a small "X" cut on each pellet entry hole; then probe around for the pellet with tweezers. The presence of feathers driven into the meat often indicates a pellet. Be sure to remove all the bits of feathers, since they'll impart a bitter taste.

    If you have meat that is riddled with pellets, put the meat in a pot and cook it until the meat falls off the bones. Then methodically pull it apart in small pieces to be used in a soup. —Jim Zumbo, Hunting Editor

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    • #3
      I'm lucky enough to live in an area with exceptional upland bird populations - pheasants, partridge and grouse - so I have a lot of experience with removing shot. It can be tedious and it's hard to get it all, but especially if you serve bird meat to kids or folks with brittle teeth, it's worth spending time to methodically get the lead out.

      One tip an old-timer told me works well. If you're going to fillet the breast meat to make fajita meat or fried strips, take each slice and hold it up to a bright light. This is like candling eggs - the light will glow through the meat and show you any pellets, feathers or chunks of bone, which can then be easily removed.

      It's harder to do this with thigh meat. Instead, I stew this meat, which generally has lots of tendons and connective sinew. It will literally fall off the bone after about an hour of simmering and then you can go through this cooked meat and remove any pellets. If you don't think there was much shot in the meat, save the water for soup stock. But if the meat was riddled with pellets, dump out the water. It will have an off-taste, and it may also contain some diluted lead.

      Andrew McKean
      Outdoor Life - Hunting Editor

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      • #4
        Originally posted by HuntingEditor View Post
        I'm lucky enough to live in an area with exceptional upland bird populations - pheasants, partridge and grouse - so I have a lot of experience with removing shot. It can be tedious and it's hard to get it all, but especially if you serve bird meat to kids or folks with brittle teeth, it's worth spending time to methodically get the lead out.

        One tip an old-timer told me works well. If you're going to fillet the breast meat to make fajita meat or fried strips, take each slice and hold it up to a bright light. This is like candling eggs - the light will glow through the meat and show you any pellets, feathers or chunks of bone, which can then be easily removed.

        It's harder to do this with thigh meat. Instead, I stew this meat, which generally has lots of tendons and connective sinew. It will literally fall off the bone after about an hour of simmering and then you can go through this cooked meat and remove any pellets. If you don't think there was much shot in the meat, save the water for soup stock. But if the meat was riddled with pellets, dump out the water. It will have an off-taste, and it may also contain some diluted lead.

        Andrew McKean
        Outdoor Life - Hunting Editor
        Those are some good suggestions, thanks!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by outdoorlife-editor View Post
          Whether you're cleaning a light-meat bird or a dark-meat bird, it's tough to find all the hidden pellets.

          One method is to use the point of a sharp knife to make a small "X" cut on each pellet entry hole; then probe around for the pellet with tweezers. The presence of feathers driven into the meat often indicates a pellet. Be sure to remove all the bits of feathers, since they'll impart a bitter taste.

          If you have meat that is riddled with pellets, put the meat in a pot and cook it until the meat falls off the bones. Then methodically pull it apart in small pieces to be used in a soup. —Jim Zumbo, Hunting Editor
          Also good comments, thanks Jim!

          Comment


          • #6
            If you're using steel shot why not try a clean neodymium magnet. If not, try looking really hard for wound channel openinings and if that isn't your thing in addition to the other tips on here, you could try scraping the flat of a knife across the strip you cut.

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