cooking whole pheasants - The Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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cooking whole pheasants

I plucked and gutted two whole pheasants this weekend and froze them whole.

Any suggestions for cooking them and keeping them tender?

I know most guys just cut the breasts out, but I figured I'd try the whole bird at least once.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 07:08 PM
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Re: cooking whole pheasants

I have made a good pheasant soup using the whole bird. You can also roast it like a chicken.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 07:18 PM
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Re: cooking whole pheasants

I roast them just like a chicken or make Cacciatore out of them. It is extremely tender in Cacciatore. Just substitute pheasant for chicken:

4 chicken thighs
2 chicken breasts with skin and backbone, halved crosswise
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons drained capers
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves


Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.

In a large heavy saute pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, saute it in 2 batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers and oregano. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes for the breast pieces, and 20 minutes for the thighs.

Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the basil and serve.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 08:28 PM
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Re: cooking whole pheasants

The important thing is to NOT over-cook the pheasant. They dry out extremely fast.

Anyways, my favorite is Orange marmalade pheasant on the stove top.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 09:34 PM
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Re: cooking whole pheasants

You can stuff them just like a chicken/turkey. Pretty good that way.

Roast, broast, deep fry, quarter and pan fry, etc. pheasant is excellent eating on it's own or in a soup/pot pie.

I've even smoked a few that came out perfect.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 09:41 PM
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Re: cooking whole pheasants

When I do a whole bird I use one of those roasting bags for chickens. Add a little water or chicken broth, some taters, onion, celery and carrots and cook. Even with the skin off they stay moist in the roasting bag.

I don't have ducks. I don't have rows. I have squirrels. And they're drunk.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 09:57 PM
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Re: cooking whole pheasants

Last week I made pheasant linguine in butternut sauce.

cube two pheasant breasts and fry to a light brown in olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper.

Separately fry mushroom and onions until the onions are glazed.

Linguine noodles boiled in salt

Mix together and pour a jar of heated butternut squash pasta sauce and remix

It was a big hit

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2013, 03:51 AM
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Re: cooking whole pheasants

Try cooking them in a crock pot on high for about six hours in a chicken broth. Add some onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Very tender and moist.

If you bake it you should pluck the bird and leave the skin on. Keeps the bird much more moist. It's more work but worth it.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2013, 09:18 AM
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Re: cooking whole pheasants

I cook them the same way I do wild on, light coat of corn oil, lay 3 or 4 strips of bacon across the breasts, and put in an oven bag. Roast at 350, but don't overcook. Make pan gravy out of the drippings.

Even if done right, the breast meat will be slightly dry, but that's the nature of the beast. The pan gravy should make it moist enough to be enjoyable. Bon apetit!!

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2013, 10:22 AM
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Re: cooking whole pheasants

I've had success doing them in the smoker sort of like that. Skin on, bacon strips on top, and stuff a couple pieces of apple inside. I also make sure I keep a pan of water in the smoker, and use an apple/hickory mix of wood.

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