My Pheasant Was Terrible!

Well, I always wanted to try it…so I bought a “free range” 2 1/2 lb. pheasant, at a goumet meat shop. Don’t ask me what I paid…anyway, I followed the directions to the letter: I marinated the bird in red wine and onions, then roasted for 1 hour 15 minutes, at 350 F. A nicely browned bird! What did it taste like? To be charitable, the CHEAPEST broiler chicken would be better! This pheasant tasted like an old rooster! Tough and gamey. My wife dispatched the remains ( we ate the breast meat-the rest was like rubber bands) to the soup pot-she made a passable soup for the next day.
So, I’m not impressesd by this exotic fowl-did I do anything wrong? Or are game birds not all that good?
Makes me wonder why gourmets sing the praises of birds like pheasant, peacock, etc.-frankly, KFC chicken tastes a LOT better! (and you don’t have to chew it nearly as much!)

I can’t speak for the “tough” bit, but gamey is exactly what pheasant is mean to taste like!

I suspect your recipe might have been a bit crap. Those high temperatures will cause all the proteins to contract and toughen the meat.

Try it again, but next time chop it into four pieces, rub it with spices and rock salt for a couple of hours, wash it, then roast it slowly in a casserole dish at a really low temperature (185F) submerged in duck or goose fat, for two or three hours. Then put it in the fridge for a day or two, then melt the fat, remove the pheasant pieces, and gently pan fry them until they’re nice and brown. I promise you, it’ll be a totally different experience.

Yes, game birds must be cooked slowly. Traditionally pheasants were actually left hanging for a few days to “soften up” (or rot, if you prefer) before cooking.


Or pretty quickly. It’s either or because the meat is quite lean. At 180C, a 1.2 kg bird - browned in a pan first - wants about 30 minutes and 20 resting.

A really nice way would be to briefly roast the breast and do the legs in the confit way jjimm posted.

You could prepare old shoe leather in this manner and it would taste great.

The pheasant was terrible.
The terrine was pleasant.


Aww Ralph I’m sorry - but Pheasant is mean to be prepared Coq au Vin meaning Rooster with Wine. See here. Subsititute rooster with Pheasant - which is done quite often - and you have a delicacy. It’s all in how you prepare.

I have nothing to add to the conversation. I just wanted to know if I’m the only one who thought the title was just odd enough to have something to do with Monty Python.

“Hello, how can I help you?”
“My pheasant was terrible!”
“I’m sorry?”
“My pheasant … was terrible!”
“Ah, no, no … this is a tobacconists.”
“Ah … my tobacconists was terrible!”

Try saying this tongue twister as part of your next drinking game:

I’m not the pheasant plucker, I’m the pheasant plucker’s son; and I’m only plucking pheasants 'til the pheasant plucker comes.

This is the recipe I used for my Thanksgiving pheasant. I substituted a honeycrisp apple for the Bramley because we don’t have those in the U.S., at least AFAIK. And I used sherry instead of brandy 'cuz I forgot to buy some.

It came out quite well.

Interesting. The way it is worded, the pheasant plucker’s son could be waiting on either his father or mother plucker.

What did you pay? Seriously…the pheasants round here certainly aren’t all that expensive. About the same as a decent (i.e. not supermarket) chicken. I’ve got a partridge in the fridge for tomorrow which cost three quid. Game is surely the cheapest way to eat free range produce (and isn’t all game free range?)

Did you buy it from Jake the Poacher?

I always knew the tongue-twister as: I’m not a pheasant plucker, I’m a pheasant plucker’s mate; I’m only plucking pheasants 'coz the pheasant plucker’s late, cunt.

Nope, it comes from these guys, who are now supplying quite a few of the local shops.

Growing up, we always had pheasant roasted in cream of something soup. Of course, it wasn’t viewed as a delicacy, but as a staple (we always had a chest freezer full), and the cost of the hunting license and shot, averaged out over the number of pheasants, always made it cheaper than most other meat.

I’ve made pheasant in the crockpot before with cream of mushroom soup. It’s good, but as I said in the other pheasant thread, I prefer mine cooked in wild rice and chicken broth (just had this last night and it was delicious). It also works to cut up and brown the meat first and then bake it in cream.

My pheasants come courtesy of the hunters in my life, so I’d be interested to learn what people pay for them at the butcher’s.

I propose we start The War on Terrible.

Pheasant will usually be either gamey, or tough - but not both - it’s possible that you had one that has been hung incorrectly (maybe too warm?), although I agree with jjimm - that cooking temperature sounds a bit high - lower and slower would have been better.

I paid $22.00-about 11 pounds. Like I said, I felt like it was a big waste. Anybody ever have goose?

Goose is a bit greasy, or so I’ve heard.