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Best Pheasant Recipes

Known for its light-colored meat and mild flavor, the ring-necked pheasant is the perfect game bird to serve to those who are new to eating wild game. Here are 8 of our best pheasant recipes for you to try.

Best Pheasant Recipes

Pheasant breasts can be grilled, pan-seared, or poached - you can even batter and fry them up to make mouth-watering pheasant honey biscuit sandwiches. (Photo By: Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley)

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Ring-necked pheasant is a versatile meat in the kitchen. You can use it to make a variety of tasty dishes, such as comforting soups, light salads, and hearty pasta dishes. Just be sure not to overcook your pheasant meat or it can become dry and tough.

Light and Mild: Ring-Necked Pheasant

Ring-necked pheasant is the ubiquitous game bird. Even if you don’t live in an area where wild pheasants exist, there is likely put-and-take hunting somewhere in your state. Pheasant is known for its light-colored breast meat—much like chicken—and its mild flavor is ideal for introducing new and non-hunters to wild game. Still, pheasants are easy to overcook. One complaint I hear often is that pheasant meat can be dry and tough. 

If you’re new to cooking pheasant, cook the breasts and legs (and thighs) separately. Pheasant breasts are easy enough to handle: grill, pan sear, fry, or poach breasts until the internal temperature reaches 155° to 160° for juicy meat—a little pink is okay. You can season pheasant breasts just as you do chicken. Battered and deep-fried, as a topping on pizza, pheasant with homemade mushrooms and cream sauce, over a salad, in a sandwich or lettuce wrap, over pasta and alfredo sauce—the possibilities are limitless. 

Pheasant legs and thighs, however, should be handled differently. If you shoot a young bird, they might be fine marinated and thrown on the grill. If you shoot an older bird, the legs and thighs would be better for making stock or slow-cooked in a soup or stew. A few of my favorite pheasant leg recipes include pheasant tortilla soup, coq au vin, pheasant and wild rice soup, pheasant and noodles, etc. Remember to remove those annoying pin bones in the legs before serving.

Read the rest of "What is the Best Tasting Game Bird?"


8 BEST PHEASANT RECIPES

Pheasant Tortilla Soup Recipe

Pheasant tortilla soup
Pheasant tortilla soup made with an old rooster. Simmer breasts, thighs and legs until tender. (Photo By: Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley)

This pheasant tortilla soup recipe is an opportunity to utilize the whole bird. There’s no need for a perfectly plucked pheasant—use a skinned bird that might be too shot up. Dark meat legs and thighs will become tender in this soup, and bone-in pieces will impart their flavor to the stock. If you’re not saving the organs for something else, add them to the pot and they’ll help to enrich the flavor of the soup. However, if you don’t have a whole pheasant in the freezer, don’t sweat it. If breast meat is all you have, that’s fine—the chicken stock and bouillon in the recipe will make up for any shortage of flavor.

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Pheasant Meatball Pasta with Chardonnay Spinach Cream Sauce Recipe

Pheasant Meatball Pasta with Chardonnay Spinach Cream Sauce Recipe
This luscious pheasant recipe is not hard to make; the painful part is the temptation not to wait. (Jack Hennessy photo)

What do you do with “adequately shot” birds? You either dice or grind, in my opinion. From there, you have a few options for ground pheasant: burger, sausage, or meatballs in this case. As a general rule of thumb regarding any form of wild game sausage, I incorporate 40 percent pork. For bratwursts, I might use pork fat, but for meatballs I like the balance of both fat and meat cuts from a pork butt.

The hardest part about this recipe is likely waiting long enough for the cream sauce to reduce. This will easily take an hour, but it’s definitely worth the wait. The sauce will bubble versus boil when close to done and when you dip in a spoon and hold it upside-down, sauce will slowly drip versus quickly run off.

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Pheasant Bologna with Fresh Herbs Recipe

Pheasant Bologna with Fresh Herbs Recipe
This recipe only takes 10 minutes to prepare and 40 minutes to poach. Once cooled, the bologna can be sliced thin for sandwiches, camp snacks, or left in a chub for easy transportation. (Photo By: Brad Fenson)

Using America’s favorite upland game bird for making luncheon meat may sound peculiar, but it is the perfect entree for the ultimate lunch in the field. Bologna is a term used to describe sandwich meat made from emulsified meat. Pheasant is coveted for its white flesh, but it can be difficult to keep moist when cooking. Using the breast and thigh meat to make a sausage ensures it stays moist and is outstanding on the plate. Fresh herbs are a big part of this recipe, and the main ones used to develop a standard poultry seasoning are sage, thyme, and rosemary. The fresh herbs complement the pheasant and make a sausage where the gamebird remains the star.

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Pheasant Booyah (Stew) Recipe

Pheasant Booyah (Stew) Recipe
Take your time to savor the flavor and appreciate togetherness with this traditional pheasant booyah (stew) recipe. (Jack Hennessy photo)

Though the recipe’s origins are murky, with immigrants from Hungary to Belgium laying claim to the original recipe, most folks suspect the name is a misinterpretation of the French word for broth: bouillon (pronounced “bool-yaan”).

Booyah is a cold-weather favorite among supper clubs and is served during fundraisers and large family gatherings throughout the Upper Midwest. The meal itself, if done correctly, is always complimentary to the community it creates. The process of preparing it, which takes several hours, should involve inviting as many friends and family as you can fit into your house and enjoying a few adult beverages while aromas of garlic, vegetables, and pheasant broth circulate through the air.

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Banh Mi Pheasant Burger Recipe

Banh Mi Pheasant Burger Recipe
Top this banh mi pheasant burger with shredded carrots, sliced jalapeños, and a homemade spicy mayo sauce. (Jack Hennessy photo)

Banh mi, from my understanding, literally translates to “bread” in Vietnamese. In the case of the sandwich by the same name, the bread component is just as crucial as every other ingredient. In this recipe, that means substituting a French baguette roll—something that is crispy on the outside, and soft and pillowy on the inside—for a boring hamburger bun.

The topping drizzle is basically dressed up simple syrup. For those who don’t like a lot of sugar, you may wish to lightly drizzle over the toppings when putting the burger together, or, if sugar isn’t an issue, mix in a bowl with toppings as if it were a tossed salad.

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Easy Pheasant Caesar Salad Recipe

Easy Pheasant Caesar Salad Recipe
Easy Pheasant Caesar Salad Recipe (Photo courtesy of Scott Leysath, "The Sporting Chef")

Add all dressing ingredients except oil to a food processor or blender and pulse for 30 seconds or until the mixture is smooth. While the motor is running, add oil in a thin stream until emulsified. Taste and adjust flavors to suit your palate.

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Pheasant Breast Piccata Recipe

Pheasant Breast Piccata Recipe
Try this pheasant breast piccata recipe for a quick dinner that will be sure to satisfy your taste buds. (Photo By: Tom Minchella)

Make this piccata recipe by sautéing pheasant breasts with lemon zest, capers and white wine.

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Beer Can Roasted Pheasant Recipe

Beer Can Roasted Pheasant Recipe
Cooking a whole pheasant with a can of beer is fun and results in a flavorful, juicy bird with crispy skin, plus it's a heck of a lot easier than deep-frying. (Photo courtesy of Scott Leysath, "The Sporting Chef")

For even better-tasting upland birds, first submerge the pheasants in a brine of 1 gallon of water mixed with 1 cup each kosher salt and brown sugar. Keep between 34 and 40 degrees for 6 to 12 hours. Drain, pat dry and start cooking.

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