Apple Cider Smoked Pheasant

I love pheasant! It’s such a great bird to have for those who haven’t tried wild game birds before. They aren’t very large, and the flavor is quite mild compared to other game birds. One pheasant will feed two hungry people.

The apple cider brine, creates a flavorful bird inside and promotes a beautiful golden skin. Then, four layers of caul fat are wrapped around it to protect the bird from drying out. I encourage anyone who is smoking meat to wrap it first with caul fat. It gives a great fatty layer to keep the meat moist and juicy.


I created a brine by heating 2 cups of water, 2 cups of chicken stock, 1 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar, stir until the sugar and salt dissolved. Then it’s cooled completely. Then I added 1.5 cups apple cider, a few sprigs fresh thyme, a few marjoram leaves, 2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic, 2 sliced lemons, and 1/3 cup canola oil. I added two pheasants to an extra large zip lock back which I then placed in a bowl. After the brine cooled, I added everything to the bag with the pheasants, sealed it, and brined it for 24 hours.

While the smoker was heating, I wrapped each pheasant with four layers of beef caul fat. Using caul fat to wrap the pheasant will protect the meat from drying out. It does all the work by “basting” the meat, as the fat in the caul fat renders out.


Once the pheasant has smoked for approximately 1.5 hours, I remove any caul fat that hasn’t rendered or burnt. IMG_1887

What’s left is an amazingly juicy little bird!! It can be eaten right away, or pull off all the meat for other dishes.


Who is hungry??!!