How to Clean Grouse in Two Minutes
The ruffed grouse (partridge) crossed the road in front of me and hid in the dead ferns lining the road. It was too far ahead of me for a good shot so I picked up the pace and got closer. I hadn’t taken my eyes off the ferns so I knew the exact location of the bird, or so I thought. Looking down the barrel, I couldn’t find it. I don’t know how grouse disappear so quickly. Maybe I wouldn’t need to clean grouse this evening after all.
A few steps later, I heard it walk in the dry leaves on the other side of the ditch. It was out of sight behind hemlocks on my right but to my left, hardwood saplings. If it moved to the left a few feet it would be an easy shot. Fortunately, that’s what happened. Listening as it moved, I side-stepped to the left, found the partridge and fired. Yes! First bird of the season. It was the only bird I shot that day.
“You killed it, you clean it,” Steve said as we walked back to the truck. Until this year, he’s done all the cleaning. We raise chickens and sometimes turkeys for meat each year, and I clean them. It couldn’t be worse to clean grouse, right?
No guts or blood. My seven-year old nephew knows how to properly use a knife, and I’d let him do this. Cleaning partridge takes no time. Anyone can do this in two minutes or less.
- Lay the bird breast-side up, pinch the skin between your forefingers and thumbs, and pull. The skin tears easily.
- Pull the skin back to expose the meat, and remove the meat by drawing the knife against the breast bone.
- If you want to remove the entire breast you can follow the natural line of the meat where it meets the body.
Don’t over think it. You can clean grouse. Take your time and you’ll still need only a few minutes.