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Just Ordered A Brace Of Pheasants


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Local butchers hoping to get some pheasants in on Thursday, so ordered a brace to try on the smoker on Friday. Will soak in a salt and sugar wet brine overnight and maybe add a simple rub of onion and garlic granules mixed with a little paprika. Use a couple of chunks of Lilac wood for the smoke.

Or simply wrap some streaky bacon round them before smoking, to hopefully stop them drying out too much as I gather the right temp for properly cooked is 165F and then serve them with a madeira sauce and some accompaniments 

Never smoked game before and not had pheasant for a long time, but got to be worth a try, especially as a brace only costs £6.50

Edited by sotv
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20 hours ago, sotv said:

I gather the right temp for properly cooked is 165F 

Yes, being a game bird they should be taken up to 74 C (165 F) for at least 5 minutes to ensure that any parasites are killed. Bringing them up to 74 C then wrapping in foil to rest for 5 minutes will be fine and it will help the meat to relax and remain juicy.

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Picked up these 2 yesterday, have brined them overnight in a 3/4 cup Sugar, 3/4 cup Salt, 8 cloves of Garlic Crushed and a slug of Madeira in a gallon of water overnight.



Will try to add photos of them cooked if not to dark later today and post if they taste any good done low and slow.

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They are looking good.

Hopefully they will not be too salty. From the measurements you gave you have a brine that is 5% salt and 3% sugar*. Assuming that these are average weight Pheasants the whole bird would have weighed ~1 Kg and the meat content of the bird would be between 35-50% of that weight. Assuming 50% (best case) then if the brine and Pheasant were allowed to reach equilibrium then the minimum salt content in the meat would be 4% and the sugar 3%.

Let us know how they tasted :thumb1:

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First off, have to say that turned out one of the tastiest bits of meat I have cooked on the smoker. Full of smoky gamey flavour and a surprising amount off meat, off what were  2 relatively small birds.

After removing from the brine I air dried them for an hour and patted them dry.  Instead of a conventional rub, I melted 50g of unsalted butter and mixed into it a teaspoon of Chicken Bisto granules (really) till it became a smooth paste then brushed it over the 2 birds. (I thought it worked well and would use this again next time on bird skin).

Expected the birds to be cooked in  hours but it was just over 5 hours till it reached 165F. Served with baby new potatoes and tenderstem broccoli. Didn't do a sauce in the end just put a few spoonfuls of a thin chicken gravy mixed with the pheasant juices that were left after leaving it to stand for 10 minutes. Worked well as the meat tasted great and only needed a small amount of gravy.

Those 2 birds easily fed 2 and would stretch to 3 if thigh meat was used as well. (legs are a bit sinewy)

All in all a great piece of meat to use on the smoker, flavour, think turkey thigh/leg but more gamier. My butchers do Partridge,, Wild Duck, Venison and Rabbit. Depending on availability at the local estate shoots. But rabbit is next on my to try list on the smoker. Though I think I will be eating it on my own, as my wife doesn't fancy the thought of Thumper on her plate.

The brine worked great for my tastes. I am sensitive to salt and never add it to anything , when I cook conventionally or on my food once cooked. The only time I do is in smoking hot or cold and I use Kosher Salt. The brine I used added no noticeable salt taste to the finished flavour and as hoped help keep the meat moist whilst cooking and would happily use the measurements I mentioned earlier in the thread, next time. The garlic was just about noticeable in the finished meat. I used a mix of soaked Apple and Maple Wood chips for the smoke.

If you like dark meat like Turkey thigh/leg definitely recommend trying this on your smoker, as it is in season now.


p.s.Crispy Pheasant flavoured smoky bacon doesn't taste too bad either.



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Seen a few videos on Youtube in the last 24 hours, where people have smoked the breasts of pheasant, partridge etc, look nice and quicker to do, if you don't fancy cooking them whole and have decent butchery skills to cut the bird up.


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