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Cooking Pheasant: A Complete Guide for Wild Pheasant Hunters

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 Via Kai Hendry

We talk a lot about hunting pheasant here on the site, but it’s time we focus on what happens after the hunt.

Dressing the birds and preparing them to eat is a major part of the pheasant experience. The birds have long been sought after treats and for centuries people have been preparing them for feasts.

We’ll look at a few ways you can cook pheasant for your family and friends once you’ve had a successful day in the field.

Field Dressing a Pheasant

The first step to cooking pheasant is field dressing. There is a great video here on Game Bird Hunts that takes care of it for you. Just follow the steps taken in the video and you’ll be making quick work of the pheasant as you get it ready for cooking.

Video: Field Dressing a Pheasant

The process is really quick. You don’t have to pluck out the feathers as you would with a chicken or a turkey. It’s a much easier way that saves time, which is great if you’ve had a successful few days of hunting. Nobody wants to spend the entire day preparing birds. With this method you’ll have the birds ready to go in the pan or on the grill in no time.

This process makes it easy to get the breast and the legs. Don’t forget about the leg meat because it can really make for more succulent eating compared to the breast, which can dry out if you’re not careful.

There are different ways to do this. You can take out the feathers in a traditional way and have the entire bird ready for processing. There was a great video shared in the forum covering what you would do once the feathers are gone from the bird in this method.

This process requires you to cut the bird in different sections to get after the meat you’re looking for depending on the recipe. You can do it without the stand as seen in the video, but if you have one or can make one of your own it will make it easier.

This second process is a better way to get all the meat from the bird. You’ll get the wings, thighs and legs with this process. That can be some of the best meat as described above so if you’re looking to make your bird last this is the way to go.

If you’re looking for extra taste you can leave the skin on the bird. In the video they take it off the thigh, but we all know that the roasted skin is often the best part of the bird.

Bacon Wrapped Roasted Pheasant

Wrapping the pheasant breast in bacon is one of the most popular ways to prepare the bird. Everybody loves bacon and it makes sense to include it in as many recipes as possible, but the bacon actually serves a big purpose in this instance.

Poultry can dry out when roasted and there is always the risk of cooking it too long and having it get too dry to even enjoy. The bacon provides necessary fat to make the meat more moist and enjoyable.
Here is a great recipe for bacon wrapped pheasant.

Recipe: Pheasant Wrapped in Bacon With Green Peppercorn Sauce

You can do this recipe or you can make your own adjustments. Sometimes just wrapping bacon around the breast with some poultry seasoning and putting it on the grill does the trick. You don’t have to get fancy, but the sauce can really make a difference especially since the bird does tend to dry out when roasted.

Smoked Pheasant

Smoking pheasant is an interesting way to prepare the bird. You can get the meat cooked with a really interesting flavor. There is a recipe on the site that smokes the bird, but only after being put in a brine, which we will read about in just a bit.

The recipe also calls for bacon, which again is really common for cooking pheasant.

Recipe: Smoked Pheasant

This is an interesting way to cook pheasant. Try it out if you’re looking for something out of the norm. It could turn out really well.

Great Sauces for Pheasant

Some will argue that sauce is the key to making a good meal. With pheasant it might be even more important because the meat tends to dry out. The sauce can bring the meat back to a moist state giving it great taste from the meat and the sauce combined.

Here are some great recipes that include sauce:

Grilled Pheasant Breast With Tomato Basil Pesto

Seared Pheasant Breast With Cranberry Mushroom Chutney

Roasted Pheasant With Basil Chutney

There is lots of room for experimenting with sauces. Find a sauce you think sounds good and pair it with your roasted pheasant. The sauce will keep the meat moist and will add even more flavor to a delicious bird.

Roasted Pheasant in Brine

Brine is something that works well for the Thanksgiving turkey. You find a recipe and soak the bird in the marinade overnight before roasting it on Thanksgiving morning.

A turkey requires a large bucket to get it cooked and soaked, but a pheasant doesn’t require as much.

The great thing about a brine is the water or broth. The bird soaks up all the moisture and comes out moist and delicious with a simple roast. It will be the best bird you’ve ever had. People do it with turkey and chicken and there is no reason it can’t work just as well with pheasant.

Conclusion

There are a few ways to take your bird from the field to the dinner plate. You can follow the procedures above or try your own variations.

Cooking pheasant is all about finding something you like and adding your own touches. It will complete the entire experience.