After harvesting a turkey, my method of cleaning it has always been to skin out the bird. If this is done before the bird is too cold it makes it much easier. I always keep the whole bird including the legs even though a common method is to just take the breasts. Using the right cooking methods, cooking the whole bird, even without the skin on, can be quite tasty. I always found this method easy and quick. This year however I learned of a speedy technique which involves plucking the feathers from the bird quite efficiently.
The new process was shown to me after a successful morning hunt with a couple of good friends. The practice involves warming a large amount of water, not quite to a boil, but to the point that it is very very hot. In our case two large pails of water were heated and eventually dumped into one larger tub. This larger container must be big enough to submerge your turkey in the amount of water.
Once the water is hot enough, the turkey is completely submerged in the tub of water. Then using a tool or stick, make sure that all parts of the turkey have been well soaked. The turkey was then quickly hung up by the leg, so that it was at a good working height. The majority of feathers simply fell off when running our hands over them. I was blown away at the ease and proficiency of this method of cleaning a bird. Most of the feathers will simply be removed however there will still be a few stubborn feathers especially around the legs, which will need to be plucked off the bird. This method leaves the whole bird intact and most importantly with the skin on. Afterwards the bird is then fully prepared with the removal of the innards as per usual.
This was definitely a new experience for me and I was actually very surprised at how well this method worked for cleaning a bird. I definitely enjoyed being part of the learning experience and look forward to trying this process again in the future, not only with turkeys but also with some waterfowl harvests as well.