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How to Breast a Dove and Make Amazing Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Dove Recipe
All images via @darykganske

Here is how to quickly clean dove breast and how to prepare them.

Dove hunting season is finally upon us and hunters around the country are gearing up for their favorite time of year. Once you have some birds on the ground, you are in for a treat. Dove breasts make for some of the tastiest wild game meat out there. It is no wonder so many look forward to this as one of the first hunting seasons of the year.

Before you can enjoy that meal you are going to need to set aside some prep time for getting that dove meat out of the bird. If you have never hunted these game birds before, you may not know what to do next.

No worries, we are here to help with instructions on exactly how to remove that breast meat quickly and efficiently. We also have a tasty dove recipe for you for jalapeno and bacon wrapped dove poppers. It makes a perfect appetizer, and you are going to love it.

How to breast out a dove.

Dove Recipe
@darykganske

If this is your first dove season, cleaning one of these small birds may seem difficult at first. Do not worry, it is easier than you may think. There are a few different ways to go about doing it and there really is not a right or wrong way. We suggest trying a few to see what works best for you. With a little practice, you will be able to breast out a whole dove in seconds.

Dove Recipe
@darykganske

The method we are illustrating here today with photos calls for the removal of the wings first. You can accomplish in two ways. Some hunters prefer to pull them off with their bare hands using a twisting motion. Others use a pair of shears to snip them off where they attach to the breast. There is no wrong way to accomplish this.

Dove Recipe
@darykganske

Once you have the wings off, you will want to expose the breast. You can save this step for after you have removed the breast if you prefer, but for new dove hunters, it will make cleaning the bird easier as you learn what you have to remove. You can usually do this by holding the bird with both hands and using your thumbs to pull the skin covering the breast apart.

Dove Recipe
@darykganske

When you have the breast exposed, there are a few ways to remove the meat from the rest of the bird. You can do this with or without the aid of a knife. Some prefer to work from the top of the breast down while some prefer to work from the bottom up.

Dove Recipe
@darykganske

Either way, there is a ridge that runs down the middle of the breast. Follow that with your finger to the top or bottom. When you get to the top or bottom, place a finger behind the breast bone and you should be able to just pull the whole thing out after applying a little force.

Dove Recipe
@darykganske

Once you have the breast out, you can discard the rest. Pluck any extra feathers and remove any excess skin from the breast and get the meat on ice while you clean the rest of your birds. Some hunters prefer to clean out the breast bone that runs down the center, some prefer to leave it in while cooking. If you are going to make our recipe, you will want to bone it out. 

Jalapeno dove popper recipe

Dove Recipe
@darykganske

There are many ways to prepare these birds: grilled dove, kabobs, and fried dove are all great. However, most hunters save their birds for bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers. These things are sure to be a hit at any party or gathering and they are ridiculously easy to make too. Even if you think your skills in the kitchen are non-existent. This is mostly because you can almost do no wrong in how you approach making them.

Dove Recipe
@darykganske

The method we have displayed here involves taking some jalapeno peppers and carving out the middle portion and adding some cream cheese and a piece of dove breast. The other way to do this is by wrapping the dove around the cream cheese and peppers. For those who want something a little less spicy, you can do without the jalapenos. Some people like to use mushrooms or even garlic as a substitute. The only real limits to dove poppers are your imagination. Many people also like to add a little black pepper, BBQ rub, or other spices to their poppers to enhance the flavor.

While most people prep the poppers alone, you can also put these on a skewer for some interesting kabobs. Because the birds are so small, you can get away with using half a slice of bacon to wrap them. You should be able to get two bite-sized poppers from one dove breast. Use a toothpick to hold the popper together. Some hunters only wrap their doves once. Some like to wrap it with two pieces layering the bird in opposite directions.

Dove Recipe
@darykganske

After that it is a simple manner of cooking them. You can use just about anything for this task. Some people prefer grilling them while others like to cook them in an oven. Whatever method you choose, make sure you monitor them closely to prevent over-cooking them. Set your oven to medium-high heat and cook until they are golden brown and crispy.

If you are using a grill, some people prefer to use hot coals rather than open flame. Because doves are so small, it should not take long to cook, only a few minutes at most. Again, make sure to monitor closely.

Dove Recipe
@darykganske

As you can see from the photo above, the cream cheese can make a bit of a mess. It is not required if you want to keep things simple and clean, but it really adds to the flavor of these things. If you have never had dove before, you are truly in for a treat. There is a good reason dove poppers have become a tradition of early season hunting camps for so many people. We can promise if you have a lot of family and friends over, these things will not last long!

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For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels

NEXT: THE AXIS DEER AND HOW THEY'RE IMPACTING PARTS OF THE UNITED STATES

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How to Breast a Dove and Make Amazing Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers