Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Oct 9, 2009 08:14 AM

Cooking Pheasant

We're thinking about trying a pheasant for Thanksgiving. I have read that, if roasted, they need to be barded. I was wondering if they could be injected instead so as to not have so much bacon fat/taste (sigh). We inject from the inside out and were thinking of using an olive oil/melted butter combination. Oh, I will be stuffing it with old fashioned, corn bread dressing.

If it makes any difference, we live in Texas so I'll be "importing" a farm raised, frozen bird.

Any thoughts, suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. How interesting. I have had pheasant, but never cooked one, so take this all with a grain ;)

    According to Barron's Food Lover's Companion, it says young cocks and hens may be roasted as is, but older pheasants should be "barded", or cooked with moist heat since the flesh is lean & dry. Sounds like a braise to me.

    Do you know anything about the frozen bird you're getting, as to age or how large? And I don't know much about injecting food, so I can't really comment about that. I once roasted a turkey breast wrapped in bacon, and it was delicious, moist and not at all "bacon-y" tasting. And as you know, turkey breast is about as lean as it gets. You can also use center cut bacon, which has a lot of the fat trimmed away. Or why not roast it covered, and put dressing in another pan to bake. Then you can take bird out and brown skin before it's almost done? Just some suggestions. Good luck!

    1. The only comment that I can make is that I roasted a pheasant once, and thought it was a bit on the dry side, so I like the idea of injecting it.

      1. you can soak cheesecloth in butter, duckfat or olive oil and drape that over the bird. the problem with injection is: gravity. the pheasant itself has almost no fat. whatever you shoot in will only drip down, into the stuffing. it's not going to stay "inside" the flesh. you can also slip herbed butter under the skin. i do that a lot with chicken.

        1. Unless you know the age of your bird (and how long it's been hung for), roasting can be a gamble. It can be very dry (may be different with farm raised - I've only ever seen wild on sale). If I've got to roast, I use bacon - crispy bits of bacon are the prime cook's perk.

          That said, I now usually pot roast pheasant. The original recipe I found (one of Nigel Slater's) suggested using vermouth as the liquid but I prefer a white wine. I do keep to his idea of celery in the pot - braised celery and autumn game birds sound just sooo right.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Harters

            That's how I did my second pheasant, from a David recipe - I'll post the link for the OP later tonight - getting ready for my Indian extravaganza!

            1. re: MMRuth


              I'm also doing Indian this weekend - a lamb dish from Jaffrey's "Ultimate Curry Bible" (and a daal from a packet, which I like better than my own)

              1. re: Harters

                Here's my pheasant with celery report:


                What's the name of the lamb dish?

                1. re: MMRuth

                  "Moghlai Lamb with Spinach" (Paalag Gosht)

                  It's the only bit of cooking - I have pappads to put under the grill and some chutney for a starter. The daal as mentioned and some chappattis. I've also a bought halwa mix for dessert - just needs milk and sprinkling of almond and pistachio. And a selection of sweets bought from a shop on the "curry mile" in the city.

          2. "A" pheasant? pheasants are small, one bird will feed two adults at most. Farm raised birds are sold when they are still relatively tender; they don't get the same amount of exercise as wild birds. There is little fat on pheasants so laying a few slices of mild tasting bacon over the breast is a good idea, or roast them on their sides and roll them over half way, and pour some stock or wine or juice in the pan to create moist heat, and don't overcook them. The cavity is too small to stuff, but you can insert flavorings such as onion, apple, and sprigs of fresh sage or thyme and lemon peel. In England they are served with game chips, which are like home made potato chips.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cassis

              "In England they are served with game chips, which are like home made potato chips."

              Yes, that's one of our traditional accompaniments, along with bread sauce - but you probably would only see chips served at a restaurant not at home (and probbaly not even then, these days). I did once cook an entirely traditional meal - but it was much easier to buy a packet of premium quality crisps (as we call what you call chips)