Perfectly Smoked Pheasant
By Chef Bri Van Scotter of Wilderness to Table
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 4.5 hours & 12 hours to brine
Yield: 6 servings
2 whole pheasant, skin on
8 cups of water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 lemons, cut in half and
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 cup honey
2 sticks unsalted melted butter
- In a large pot set over high heat add the water, kosher salt, brown sugar, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, peppercorns and honey. Squeeze the juice of the lemons into the liquid then place all the rinds in the brine as well. Bring to a boil then remove from heat and let cool.
- Once the pheasant has cooled completely. Place the pheasants in the brine and place in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
- After 12 hours remove the pheasants from the brine and rinse with clean water. Then pat the pheasants dry with a clean towel. Place the pheasants on a sheet tray and place them back in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, this helps to form the pellicle which helps the smoke flavor to adhere. Season the birds with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Preheat the smoker to 200-225F, I like to use a charcoal smoker.
- Using butcher twine tie the legs of the birds together and tuck the wings underneath the backs. Place the birds in the smoker. Smoke for 3 to 5 hours depending on how big your pheasants are, or until an internal temperature reads 160F.
- Baste the pheasants with the melted butter every 30 minutes or hour until they are done cooking.
- Serve with roasted fennel and blood orange segments with mixed greens.