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Old 11-22-2011, 02:10 PM   #1
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Anybody ever eat wild Pigeon/Squab?

I understand that squab, comercially raised and butcherd before the bird can fly, but is at adult weight, is supposed to be haute cuisine. I'm wondering what the wild bird tastes like. What is its texture. Is there a "best" way to prepare it?

I'm also wondering how difficult it would be, and legality of capturing wild pigeon and raising them for food. Also, would they grow larger with a steady meal of quality food.

I also read that pegeons mate and a great way to raise them is to let the hen lay, hatch, and tender a first set of eggs, then let her lay a 2nd batch of egg that the father will take care of. Then, as the first batch begins to mature, the mother takes care of the 2nd batch as well. This increase the yeild and still provide the "mothering" that is require by the young pidgeons to thrive.

Anybody with info, I would appreciate it. Who knows, I might even try raising some pidgeons. Good squab sells for $8 per pound or so.

Seeeeeeya; Chief longwind of the North

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Old 11-22-2011, 02:21 PM   #2
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They taste like a tasty bird. I wouldn't say it tastes like chicken, as it doesn't, it certainly isn't as rich as Duck but it is a LOT richer than chicken, I hate to say it, but it taste like squab.

It's a lot of nibbling for a little bit of bird, and though I don't go out of my way to prepare it, when requested, I will make it. I like to spatchcock the bird, season, brown slowly skin side down, flip and finish in the oven. Rest the bird, go in the pan with some shallot, pink peppercorn and de-glaze with brandy, let that come down (au sec) and finish with some butter. I like mine cooked about medium.

as for the raising of them, I dunno, I just eat 'em.
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Old 11-22-2011, 03:40 PM   #3
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I have eaten them fairly often in Chinese restaurants, but have also cooked a lot of game birds. I'll have to search my memory banks to come up with it, but in immediate memory my failures were thinking I could cook it fairly quickly and not adding enough fat. Larding the birds really made the difference, and braising worked wonderfully well.
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Old 11-22-2011, 07:23 PM   #4
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I've also only eaten them at Chinese restaurants. Reminds me somewhat of a very lean, gamey quail. I like them in lettuce wrap, shredded and stir-fried with dice of veggies. I've never cooked one. The pigeon is a rock dove. Mourning doves are very popular game birds. I've never eaten those, but am thinking the two might be similar. Strong flyers = muscular breasts.
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Old 11-22-2011, 11:48 PM   #5
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Yeah, dove hunting is HUGE down here. It's the first thing you can shoot in the fall. I have (mourning and white-wing) dove pretty much every year and it's really one of my favorite game meats, but I don't know how it compares to squab. We usually take the breast meat completely off the bone and then wrap it in bacon, marinade it in Italian dressing and grill it. Man it's good!
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Old 11-23-2011, 12:17 AM   #6
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i've had squab a few times and have seen it prepared before, but i'm not sure if it was wild or farmed. i wouldn't doubt if it was farmed.

like tatt said, it's definitely not like chicken. frogs taste more like chickem than does squab. if pork is the other white meat, squab is the other red meat. it's like ostrich, but even darker red.

the breast is pretty much the useable meat on them, unless you like to pick at the legs and such. in that way, it's like eating a quail with big breasts.

the breast is a large piece of dark red, lean meat. it should be cooked accordingly: high heat, short time, and unlike chicken it should be cooked medium rare to medium at the most.

hth, oh wise one of the perpetual wind.
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Old 11-23-2011, 03:16 AM   #7
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I shoot two big fat wood pigeons that were pulling up my onion and garlic sets 4 wks ago. I hung them for 4 days then cleaned and plucked the varmints. They are classed as vermin here so the local farm gives them to me as his wife will not dress or eat them.
The two I shot were old so I just fry speck then remove from the pan, the brown the birds remove from pan, then fry onions garlic, put back the bacon and birds add a 50/50 stock of red wines and chicken put lid on and braise till tender, remove birds add a shot of port and a spoon of red currant jelly, boil till the stock has reduced thicken with butter, pour over birds and serve with bread sauce and game chips.
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Old 11-23-2011, 03:23 AM   #8
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lol, coque du bolas, as it were.

umm, i'm not good with french. coque au bolas might be better.

i'm sure it would matter if bolas were around some old birds in france...
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Old 11-23-2011, 03:29 AM   #9
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I concur Tom, on my first tour that included France I thought Coq Au Vin was an invitation to have nooky in the tour eqiup van.
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Old 11-23-2011, 07:39 AM   #10
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Bolas!!

Pigeons are not protected in the US--they are not covered under the migratory bird act, so you should be ok to trap or kill them. It would probably be easier to buy a couple of paird of tame pigeons and raise them in an enclosure.

Pigeons and mourning doves are not the same species--mourning doves are hunted in many places, and game laws apply.

When my son was first starting to hunt, he was told that if he shot it, he had to eat it. He nailed a pigeon on the neighbor's farm--I boiled that sucker all day and it never got tender enough to stick a fork in. Must have been the oldest pigeon in the world.
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