We have three grandchildren now. All of them through my son’s side of the family. Cloey is 13 and is following in my footsteps. Dirt and animals are good. Dressing up is not and should be kept to a minimum. Brantley is 8 and is still trying to figure out what tastes good, what is fun, and what should be avoided at all costs. Then there is Mady… she just turned 1 and is the apple of her grandmother’s eye. She is nothing but smiles and just like the other two brings joy to our lives.
This writing is about my grandson, Brantley. As stated earlier, he can be a little picky as to what he will and will not eat. He and I are very different in that way. I was raised in the late 60s and all of the 70s by a Dad who was a minister and a mother who was a nurse. If it went on your plate, you ate it and I still tend to lean in that direction today. Matter of fact, I haven’t found an animal that I didn’t think tastes great, and other than black licorice and most hard liquors I’ll eat just about anything you put in front of me. With that through in mind, I always try to introduce Brantley to new eats. I can get him to taste things about 50% of the time and he might admit he likes it about 10% of the time.
I had a client that had an issue with her peacocks getting into other people’s gardens to the point that the county officials stepped in. While we were able to trap and rehome most of the offending birds there were a few that just weren’t going to follow the program. The only solution was to remove them from the gene pool with my air rifle. I knew I was up to the task of humanely dispatching those birds that refused to pay attention to the property lines.
It only took a few days before I got my chance. I was able to drop a hen and a cock bird early one morning. As I drove home from the property with the two birds in the back of my SUV, I was smiling quite proud of myself. I love shooting this rifle and had in theory, taken care of 2/3rds of my client’s problem in a very short period of time. My thoughts soon drifted to the issue of disposing of the bodies. I then remembered that Nova, my red-tailed hawk was always looking forward to fresh food. This was a better use of them than just trashing them. Then, suddenly it dawned on me ….. peacocks and peahens are one of the largest members of the pheasant family. I do like pheasants and these birds are between 3 & 4 times the size of your typical Chinese pheasant! I didn’t know I would be able to con my wife into trying them, but I knew I was going to be savoring a few open-faced peacocks and gravy sandwiches!
When I got home I processed both birds, then vac packed them, and into the freezer they went. Their size was somewhere between a large chicken and a small turkey (which is in the same family as the peacock). The next weekend Kelley picked up Brantley from his mother’s house on her way home from work. We try to spend as much time with him as we can it tends to be mostly weekends during the school year. After dinner, that night, I told him the story about getting the birds and showed him the few pictures I had taken. He had begun to show an interest in hunting so I showed him what I could when I could. He was pretty excited about it all as I dragged the story out with all the little details. Then he asked what I di with the two birds. I took him out to the freezer, showed them to him, and asked when wanted me to cook one for him to try with me. He stated emphatically tomorrow! I explained that they were frozen and thawing would take a day. Then I explained how like a bird that was at least 1 – 3 years old they would be tough unless I used the crock pot and an 8-hour cooking time. With all this information out, I convinced him that next weekend would provide a much better opportunity for us to enjoy our first meal of peacock.
And… that’s what happened. The following Thursday I pulled one of them out of the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge for 36 hours. Then Saturday morning, Brantley and I fit it in the crockpot with a few cups of beef broth to help keep it moist. We threw in a few spices and clamped down the lid. Eight hours later we announced to Kelley that dinner would be served after we let the bird sit for an hour und a tin foil tent to cool slowly. A little corn starch in the juices help whip up a fine gravy.
When we sat down Brantley was a little hesitant to try it at first. So, I dug in to boost his confidence. I would have to say it was quite delicious and even Kelley said it was a worthy meal! But the big take away was Brantley. He declared that peacock was his new favorite meal!
Since then, we have had peacock on several occasions, and I have the cooking down to a science. Although it has its own taste, it is lightly flavored more like a chicken and not quite as strong tasking as a turkey. In other words, it tastes like pheasant.
And, if you ask Brantley what his favorite meat is, he will throw his hands up onto his hip and declare positively “um, Peacock! What’s yours?”