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deerstalker



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 589

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 04 7:34 pm    Post subject: Heads or Tails  Reply with quote    

This is something that's bothered me for years. Does one hang a pheasant by the neck or the legs?

Before everyone jumps in and says the neck, think about it for a while.

I always thought the purpose in hanging was to improve the flavour and tenderness of the meat. As most will know the first thing to break down is the guts or draw. As it does the enzymes and bacteria from the gut start to digest the muscles which makes them more tender (Cabs opinion would be useful here).

If you hang a pheasant by the neck the viscera ends up in the belly flavouring and tenderising nothing and sometimes ending up on the floor with a mixture of excrement.

On the other hand, if hung by the legs the viscera ends up in the chest cavity up against the breast meat tenderising it.

This just seems logical to me, because in both my shooting and fishing I like to be a thinking sportsman and ask why? and try new (sometimes more logical) methods. The trouble with fieldsports is a lot is based on tradition, and of all the fish I've caught and game I've shot, none has read a fishing/shooting book.

So if anyone can explain why pheasants should be hung by the neck instead of the legs, I'll be happy.

jema
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 26638
Location: escaped from Swindon
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 04 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Peasants don't have tails, so it is probably just a simple case of the aristocracy avoiding getting themselves confused

jema

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44247
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 04 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Alright while we're about it why do we have to hang pheasants or any other bird? I come from a culture where a bird is ideally cooked as soon as possible after killing and I've spoken to Cypriot and Middle Eastern friends who echo my comments. And what about the rest of the world? Do our European friends hang their meat too?

anneka



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 158

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 04 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If you hang it by the tail, then the bird falls on the floor when its ready to eat - ie. when the tail feathers fall out.

Agree with you that they should logically be hung by the tail, but I don't hang them that long anyway - sometimes not at all .

MIL swears by plucking then freezing with the guts in then defrosting them slowly to improve the flavour, then drawing oce defrosted - don't know if this is dicing with food poisoning, but so far so good.

Anneka

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 04 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The enzymology of how the meat matures shouldn't really be too much affected by which way up the meat is. A better question would be which way up should the animal be to minimise the chance of spoilage. And in something like a pheasant, surely the biggest and most important factor there is ensuring that te choice of bird for hanging is a good one (i.e. the viiscera aren't already too macerated?)

Jonnyboy



Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 23924
Location: under some rain.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 04 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

When hanging birds by the neck, I find that if the 'eviscera is macerated' then I can still save the breast.

Although some advocate hanging so the innards press against the breast meat, thus enhancing the gamy flavour.

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 04 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I wonder why that's the reason for hanging by the neck,then? Far better chance of not ruining the breast?

Oh, as for the reasons for hanging meat in the UK (and why it doesn't happen all over the world) it's partly a result of climate. You can intensify flavour and make meat more tender this way, and also it's a great way of storing meat for a number of days (even longer in some cases) without needing refrigeration. But that isn't possible everywhere.

All cuisines have means for preventing meat spoilage, and for hiding small tinits of meat being off. It's vitally important. Ours is to age the meat, to allow the meat to mature in such a way as any microbiology going on 'improves' the flavour (obviously, that's subjective). I think you can deduce a lot about how a cuisine has developed from the approach taken to meat storage and flavouring.

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44247
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 04 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Cab wrote:
Oh, as for the reasons for hanging meat in the UK (and why it doesn't happen all over the world) it's partly a result of climate. You can intensify flavour and make meat more tender this way, and also it's a great way of storing meat for a number of days (even longer in some cases) without needing refrigeration. But that isn't possible everywhere.


But do other European countries have traditions of hanging their meat? Germany or France for instance.

sean
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 41962
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 04 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The french definitely do, there's an entry in Larousse Gastronomique. My guess is that it's probably done in most of northern europe, probably with a cut-off point about half way down Italy.

sean
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 41962
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 04 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Larousse reckons that hanging makes all game taste like pheasant. I suppose it's a change from everything tasting like chicken.

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44247
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 04 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'll have to try that then

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 04 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Tahir, yes, most other European countries will mature their meat, other than those right in the South of Europe, who tend to have to find other ways of curing their meat instead.

deerstalker



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 589

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 04 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Nobody has answered the question though (I'm none the wiser anyway)

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 04 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

DS, I'll have another go!

I can't see any reason why the enzymology would be radically affected by the way up the bird is hung. The enzymes that tenderize the meat are going to diffuse rather than be dragged down by gravity, and the only difference I think you'd get would be a slightly gamier result in the breasts if you hang it head down. But if there's too much damage to the viscera of the bird before hanging, I strongly suspect that you're risking damaging the breast meat that way.

deerstalker



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 589

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 04 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

So why not draw it before hanging and eliminate some of the risks?

You see I don't understand that hanging by the neck undrawn has any advantages over hanging by the neck drawn.

If you're gonna leave the guts in, you may as well hang it from the feet and get some benefit - see what I'm getting at?

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