Thursday, February 13, 2014

Smoked Pheasant

Smoked Pheasant with caramalized onions and fresh rainbow chard.

     Recently a dear friend called me and informed me he had been pheasant hunting and wondered if I wanted some.  I have to say I was a little nervous having never eaten them before.  He owns a Traegar Smoker and knows I have one also and figured that since I was a Chef I would know what to do with a Pheasant.  Having never eaten one, I had never cooked one either.  But I am up to a challenge.  So I wanted nervously for him to bring the birds over.

    He brought over several pheasants and some quail like birds,  I cannot remember the name.  So I placed them in the frig and pondered just what I was going to do with them.

    I love my Smoker.  It is amazing.  Traegar Smokers are the best ever.  I have smoked many things, from meatloaf to potatoes, but never a pheasant.  So I did what I always do in these situations, listen to my instincts.  

    The pheasants and other birds were small, so I was worried about dry meat.   So I decided to brine them.  Brining adds a lot of moisture to the meat and takes away the risks of drying out while cooking.  I brined them in a water, Kosher salt,  sugar,  and pickiling spice blend.  I placed the birds in a bucket with the brine and placed it in the frig for the night.

    Next day I turned on the smoker to low smoke for about 10 minutes.  Rinsed the birds off and tossed them in olive oil, and Penzey's sage.  I added a drop of Xagave.  Tossed it and placed the birds on the grill in the smoker.  I smoked them for 2 hours on low and raised the temp to 185 for another hour and raised the temp to 275 for another hour.  Perfect.

     So here I was with perfectly cooked birds and still a little nervous about them.  So I called another friend who is a big game guide in Alaska and asked him if he wanted to share dinner with me.  I knew  he would appreciate the birds.  So my son and I headed over to thier house.  They were really excited and I was surprized to hear that they had never tried pheasant before either.  So we sat down and started in.  Oh my.  I was thrilled.  The first bite was heaven.  Smoked to perfection with a hint of sage.  We devoured them in a few minutes and I have to say a part of me was disapointed that I had shared.  Not really, it was great enjoying food with someone who really appreciated it.

     It was a wonderful experience, Thank you Joe Hatch for thinking of me and sharing  your birds with me.  Thank you McCarey family and my son Chase for feeding my ego and enjoying my food.  And especially thank you Traegar for the best smoker in the world.  

  The Brine,  salt, sugar, and pickling salt in water.  Brining is amazing and I always brine before smoking meats and poultry.

      Rinsed and tossed in Olive oil, sage, and agave.  

On the smoker.  

       Smoked until they had reached 160 degrees internal temp.  Grill marks, make them look even better.

I served it on fresh chard, sautéed onions, garnished with fresh sage.  I loved this adventure.  Smoking foods can be fun and exciting.  I love a challenge and I love trying new foods. On to the next adventure.  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

1 comment:

  1. Hey Chef, we are still doing our Sunday Dinners for our neighborhood because of your example. How can I make the bread in a standard oven quickly? Keep up the great work and terrific recipes!