Dry Plucking Poultry
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Dry Plucking refers to the traditional method of plucking birds by hand. These days, most store-bought poultry is Wet Plucked because Dry Plucking is labor intensive, taking up to an hour per bird, and messy. However, the extra effort and/or expense can be worth it, as Dry Plucking yields a better cooking chicken because the skin remains dry, allowing it to crisp up better during cooking.

Dry Plucking is best employed immediately after the fowl is killed. The plucking should begin at the extremities because they will cool first. Though it varies from breed to breed, feathers tend to be lodged more firmly in cooled skin, prolonging the plucking job.

Better quality butchers will often have Dry Plucked birds.


If you plan to Dry Pluck a bird yourself, hold the dead bird by its legs and pull out the feathers a few at a time. Begin at the wings and work your way inwards. Be careful how many feathers you grab at once and how roughly you pull them out. Grabbing too many feathers too forcefully can break or tear the skin. Some large feathers may come out as singles, while smaller pinfeathers may come out in clumps. Use a pinching motion for the larger feathers and a firm but forgiving “fist-grab” for the smaller pinfeathers. Having a bucket of water nearby to rinse feathers from your hands as you work doesn’t hurt either.