A New Way to Breast Doves

I know we’re a few weeks past the dove opener, but all this warm weather has kept a lot of birds in the north, meaning hunters have had some of their best bird shooting in years. Plus, here in Nebraska, we often get a second flight of doves in late September as cold temperatures to the north push birds through.

My typical method for cleaning doves is the thumb method: I simply peel the skin off the breast, stick a thumb under the breast bone and pull. The bone-in breast pops right off, and with a couple twists the wings are removed. It’s simple and quick, but it leaves the meat on the bone, which makes eating those dove poppers a pain in the rear.

For years I've been trying to figure out how to fillet that meat off the breast in a single piece. It's almost impossible with a knife (or I just don't have the skills to do it), but this video makes it look easy. Texan hunter Krista Foster simply peels the meat off each side of the keel bone with her thumb, then lifts the breast off the bone whole. If you're making dove poppers, you now have one big chunk of breast meat to wrap around the jalapeno or water chestnut, rather than trying to sandwich the stuffing between two small pieces of meat.

Bravo, Krista. I can’t wait to try this out.