Try this simple recipe courtesy “Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail” author Hank Shaw, and we swear you will never skin another bird.
Beer can chicken is one of the best ways I know to roast a chicken, especially in summertime, when you can do this recipe on the grill. But, while you can jam a regular beer can into a pheasant, the birds are generally too small. But a Red Bull can will fit. Fill it halfway with beer.
- 2 empty Red Bull cans
- Enough beer to fill half the cans (use any beer you want)
- 2 whole pheasants
- 1/4 cup olive oil to coat birds
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- Take the pheasants out and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Bring the beer out, too, as you don’t want cold beer in the can.
- Prepare your grill for indirect heat. If you are using charcoal, put the coals on one side of the grill, leaving another side free of coals. If you are using a gas grill, fire up only half of the burners.
- Rub the pheasants all over with olive oil. Mix the salt, pepper, and thyme in a bowl and sprinkle it over the pheasant.
- Fill the Red Bull can halfway with beer; it doesn’t matter what kind. Drink the rest of the beer. Put the can inside the pheasants’ cavity and place the pheasants on the cool side of the grill. The legs and the can will act like a tripod to keep the pheasant upright.
- Cover the grill and come back in 40 minutes. After that time, check the pheasants and add more coals if needed. Stick a thermometer into the thickest part of the pheasant’s thigh — you want it to read 160 degrees. If it’s not there, close the grill lid and come back in 15 minutes. Keep checking this way until the pheasant is done. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, poke the spot between the leg and breast with a knife and look for the juices to run clear, not pink.
- Carefully move the pheasants to a pan. Let them rest for 10 minutes. Carefully lift it off the can and carve up into serving pieces.
Consider brining your pheasants first, especially if it was a wild bird. Mix 1/4 cup of kosher salt with 4 cups of water and add some seasonings: I like bay leaves, rosemary and cracked black pepper. Submerge the pheasant in this brine for 4 to 8 hours, then drain and let sit in the fridge uncovered the next day — this helps you get a crispy skin. After that, you can do this like a regular beer can chicken.
This great recipe, and many others for your upland birds, can be found in small game cookbook “Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail” by hunter, angler, gardener, cook Hank Shaw.
The book is available through Pheasants Forever / Quail Forever at special chapter pricing. It makes for a great sponsor gift or addition to any cooking package at your next fund raising event.
More info at www.honest-food.net