Smoked pheasant is an excellent alternative to chicken. Although smaller, pheasants have a lot of lean white meat and offer a ton of flavor. Unlike chicken, pheasant is gamey with a distinctive taste that some describe as smoky. In this recipe, applewood’s sweet smoke enhances and complements the pheasants’ natural smokiness, as does your choice of bacon or pancetta. In addition to forming a crisp layer on the exterior, the rich porky flavor tames the gaminess, making smoked pheasant even more enjoyable.
- 2 pheasants, trimmed with entrails removed
- 1 gallon cold water
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup fine sea salt
- 1 pound bacon or pancetta
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- Pour the water into a container large enough to accommodate both pheasants.
- Add the sugar and salt. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve in the water.
- Add the pheasants to the brine. Make sure they are fully submerged.
- Place into the refrigerator to brine for 6-8 hours.
- Combine the dry rub ingredients in a bowl.
- Remove the pheasants from the brine and pat them dry with paper towels.
- Apply the rub to the pheasants and inside each cavity. Secure the legs with kitchen twine.
- Wrap the bacon or pancetta around each pheasant. It’s best to drape the slices over each bird.
- Preheat your Z Grills (preferably with branded applewood pellets) or other wood pellet grill to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Transfer the pheasants to the grill grates, close the lid, and smoke for 3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the internal temperature from the thigh area.
- Serve with your favorite side. Smoked potatoes are a great choice.
Do not use thick-cut bacon for this recipe.
Serving: 285g | Calories: 770kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 25g | Trans Fat: 4.5g | Cholesterol: 190mg | Sodium: 1940mg | Potassium: 670mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 633IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2.8mg