Cook1 hr 30 mins
Brining really is the way to go with pheasant, to keep it moist and also to "cut" some of that rich gaminess. This brine recipe is from the television show "Outdoor Wisconsin"; I like to keep the bird in it overnight then roast with plenty of butter under the breast skin and plenty of basting. You can also arrange bacon slices over the breast to keep it moist. Prep time includes overnight brining.
- 8 cups water
- 1⁄2 cup kosher salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1⁄4 cup real maple syrup
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed (the recipe says "several" garlic cloves; I tend to use about 3)
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1⁄2 lemon, juice of (I do use it) (optional)
- 1 dash cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 (2 lb) whole pheasants
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Heat together the water and salt until salt is dissolved, then allow to cool to room temperature for about a half hour.
- Add the sugar, syrup, onions, garlic, cloves, and lemon and cayenne pepper (if using).
- Add pheasant, cover and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place brined pheasant in a roasting pan breast up and insert a tablespoon of the butter under the breast skin.
- Rub the rest of the butter all over the pheasant, then roast uncovered for about 1-1/2 hours; check after an hour, though.
- Baste frequently!
- And if you like, to keep the breast meat moist, you can cover it with bacon strips as well.