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Jake

Moist bbq pheasant

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Jake

Does any one have a secret for keeping pheasant breasts moist while bbqing? I am using BGE. My wife says the taste is good but it's too dry. Any help greatly appreciated. Don't want to have to turn all these birds into sausage.

While on the topic, with preserve birds do you remove the layers of fat found just under the skin. I know with deer and bear the fat has an off taste so it should be removed. What about that on pheasants.   

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PartridgeCartridge

Brine the birds before you grill them.

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Clueless1
1 hour ago, PartridgeCartridge said:

Brine the birds before you grill them.

 

How long and in what?

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Hub

I would bet that you are overcooking them.  They don't have the fat and inactivity of the average store bought chicken and can't be cooked the same.  Knock a few minutes off the cook time.  I would also be willing to bet you are skinning your pheasants.  Plucked birds are much juicier table fare.  Every time I stand on weary legs on an out of state trip skinning pheasants I hope my grandmother is up in heaven looking the other way.  When I have time, I pluck them.  In a pinch covering them with salami or other thin cut fatty sandwich meats helps.  Mother's day at my house was pheasant saltimbocca:

 

Using saran wrap or a ziplock bag to cover, pound the breasts to thin even thickness 

Salt and peppar to taste

Cover breasts with an equal sized layer of prosciutto

Add sage 3-4 sage leaves per breast

Roll the breasts up skinny side to large with contents included and secure with toothpicks.

A few minutes a side over a medium-hot grill is all it took.  I blast them direct to give them color, and then finish indirect until they 'feel done' with a poke of a finger.

 

 

 

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Jake

Hi, thanks for the tips. I always brine my birds. Helps to remove the blood from bruising etc, Cluelss I will leave them in the brine (salt and water) in the fridge in summer till I get back to them - a day or two won't hurt. Real bad change up he brine.Hub, saltimbocca sounds like your and ancestry and mine are similar. Prosciutto now that really appeals to me - more subtle and interesting than bacon.

Now the second part of my question - these pen raised birds were really heavy on fat. I skinned them so saw it all. They had a really good life till playtime lol. Obviously if I don't skin them the fat is left on and will raise the bird - is that ok flavour wise. 

Thanks for the feed back guys, appreciate it.

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Hub

I don't find pheasant fat to have an unpleasant taste.  Its like chicken and depending on cooking method it renders down pretty quickly.  While I agree with you that deer fat tastes nasty (I think I can still taste the whitetail ribs I made 10 years ago), bear fat doesn't have an off taste unless the bear wasn't properly handled in the field.  Bear is better than venison for a slow and low barbecue guy like myself.  Bears ribs are great.  Bear shoulder prepared like pulled pork is off the charts.

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Dogwood

Pheasant breasts don't lend themselves to grilling anymore than a chicken breast.  Even with brining it's simply too lean.  You're better off sauteing them over gentle heat in butter or olive oil.  Brined phez breast (1/4 cup salt per quart of water is the basic solution, brine for at least 4-5 hours) and sauteed to medium and seasoned with whatever you like is delicious. Fresh thyme, butter, lemon, garlic, s & p, maybe some mushrooms.  Ooh!

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Spin

Inject them as you would a turkey you are going to deep fry. Once the evening before or early in the morning. Store refrigerated then give them a second injection before cooking.

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MNice

Sear at high heat, finish indirect for a few minutes.

I marinate my birds for a few hours in:

Olive Oil

Crushed Garlic

Fresh Citrus (I prefer 1/2 orange(juice, pulp, and rind) for each bird)

 

The olive oil helps with the searing and holds in natural juices while the citrus and garlic generate a very subtle but delicious flavor.

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Jake

Thanks guys, will try to get them moist with your suggestions. My wife had me debone and cut into pieces which she then cooked with mushroom soup. It was pretty good. Added liquid made it seem more moist but soup was a little over powering. Could have been any thing not goose or duck.

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rawhide

There was an excellent article on this subject, "Savor Wild Gamebirds", by Chuck Johnson in Pointing Dog Journal, p. 38ff, Nov/Dec 2010. 

 

I brine pheasant breasts: 6 Tbs Morton's Kosher salt, 8 Tbs sugar per quart of water, 1 quart of brine per lb of breasts, in Zip-Loc bags in the frig for about 2 hrs, rinse well and dry. 

 

I follow the basic process in the article. I apply a light layer of peach jalapeno bbq sauce and Tom Hall's Seasoned Salt, wrap the breasts with strips of bacon held in place with toothpicks, and grill over indirect medium heat (350) over a pan of water with apple wood smoke until the internal temperature is about 135 degrees F.  I then apply a layer of the bbq sauce and continue until the internal temperature is about 140-145.  Allow to rest tented.  Carve and serve with more of the sauce.  Wild rice is a good side.  

 

I have not had a problem with pheasant breasts being dry when grilled this way. If you can't get a copy of the article otherwise, PM or email me.  The remainder of the bird is used to make "white chili", but that's another recipe and another story.

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