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 Post subject: pheasant is tough when cooked
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:21 pm 
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I hunt and get quite a few pheasants. However, when my wife cooks them they always seem to be "tough". The best recipe so far is in a crock pot with cream of chicken soup - still a little tough. We have marinated in buttermilk before frying - still tough.

I fillet the breast off the chest, and I fillet the thigh meat off. Thighs are always the toughest. Need advice for making meat more tender. Thank you.




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 Post subject: Re: pheasant is tough when cooked
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:28 pm 
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Make sure your dog tenderizes the bird while retrieving it. Some people call this "hard mouth" :mrgreen:



I have a recipe that works great but it's time consuming. I'll try to post it when I get home


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 Post subject: Re: pheasant is tough when cooked
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:04 pm 
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shadey48,

Rarer is better. Overcooking is probably one of the main reasons for toughness. When grilling, or sauting, do not over cook. Now the crock pot approach is a different ball of wax, the slow cooking approach (low and slow for a long time) is another way to get it tender.

Also, if you have a bird that is not too damaged, try plucking. But to do this, you need to scald it before trying to pluck as this loosens up the feathers tremendously. My approach is to heat water to about 155 - 160 degrees...dunk the pheasant in for 30 seconds (swishing it around to get water to the skin) and then pull it out of the water...repeat this twice more (90 seconds in the water total). Check by pulling on a flight feather...it should slide out very smoothly. If not, give it another dunk. Cooking with the skin on makes the meat stay moister.

If you skin a pheasant you might want to try smoking it. I love it that way, but if you smoke the fillets they just dry out.

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 Post subject: Re: pheasant is tough when cooked
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:17 pm 
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shadey48 wrote:
Need advice for making meat more tender. Thank you.


The cooking bag is the easy way.

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 Post subject: Re: pheasant is tough when cooked
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:46 pm 
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It is probably due to overcooking. Try leaving it on the bone if you can. Any bird is much better that way. If its tough when stewed, it probably wasn't cooked long enough or was cooked at too high a temperature. Your liquid should barely bubble when braising meat.


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 Post subject: Re: pheasant is tough when cooked
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:14 pm 
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A digital thermometer is excellent. Fry breast (covered with slice of bacon if you wish) in pan for a minute each side stick thermometer in and stick in to oven 150 celsius. use no higher than 62 celsius for pheasant I find 60 to be nice, not read but very " moisture" meat. If the oven temperature is high then take the bird out 4-2degrees earlier since they keep on cooking with after heat. Anyways end temp around 60-62 should give good result. For pigeon 56-58 so it's still red.




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 Post subject: Re: pheasant is tough when cooked
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:15 pm 
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I soak mine in salt water for a couple days, then put them in a roasting pan and cover them with mushroom soup. Cover and Cook slowly at 300 and it turns out pretty good and tender


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 Post subject: Re: pheasant is tough when cooked
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:50 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:21 am
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I marinate mine in Italian Dressing overnight, then cook on the grill using tin foil. The tin foil keeps the juice around the meat. It's so delicious and tender that way.
Josh

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 Post subject: Re: pheasant is tough when cooked
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:52 pm 
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I'm new to pheasants but me and dog have taken enough to make mistakes and do it right this year...

I gut my pheasant right after doggo brings him back, so the meat cools quickly. I hear some people don't but it's how my dad did grouse so I just extrapolated. I am not fond of heart and liver, I am a sinner.

When the temperature cooperates (above freezing but less than 50 degrees in the garage) I let the bird hang a few days from a string around the neck. I am told this helps improve tenderness and flavor, and I want to do right by the bird.

I breast out the bird using the "Stand on the wings" technique, then rinse in cold water and fillet. You get some beautiful fillets. My favorite way to cook them is marinate for about 30 minutes in maple syrup (about 3 tablespoons) and about 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. Then I put them on the grill (set medium) for just a few short minutes, then flip.. and put a big dollop of the best applesauce I can buy on top. Sometimes I dice a bit of apple in to small cubes and mix it with the applesauce.

Let cook under the applesauce for as short a time as you dare. OVER COOKING WILL GET YOUR MEAT TOUGH! Don't overcook :) Having overcooked, I can testify that it will toughen up the most tender pheasant.

When you pull the breast free and filet, you are left with a carcass with plenty of meat on it and a meaty neck. I freeze them until I have three or four, then slow simmer them to make pheasant soup stock. Remove carcass after a few hours, let cool and remove the meat with a small knife and fingers. Reserve the meat for the soup. Four birds just got me a nice pile of meat yesterday... I will use a chicken soup recipe and egg noodles. I have cooked legs and thighs the same way but having 4 carcasses I can save those tough legs and thighs for...

Slow cooking.

What people don't understand about the "stand on the wings" method is only a disrespectful hunter grabs the breast and throws the rest away!

After breasting the bird, take the neck too. The legs and thighs are easy to peel from the skin once the legs are broken and cut at the elbow.

Legs and thighs are for slow cooking in delicious sauces and eaten with knife and fork- I haven't found an efficient way to de-tendon the drumsticks. (yet?) One thing about eating slow and lazy, cutting as best one can at the legs, is I haven't been good at finding shot pellets in the leg areas- too many joints and hard areas- so finding pellets in small morsels cut up small is easier on the dental work.

recap- hang a few days, marinades or brines, don't overcook, slow cook or soup the legs and thighs.


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 Post subject: Re: pheasant is tough when cooked
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:01 pm 
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Plenty of good advice above. Over cooking is to be avoided but letting the CLEANED birds age in the refrigerator for 3 or more days can help a lot, particularly with old rosters. There was a Gal that wrote a cooking column in "Sports Afield", I think. She said proper care of the meat in the field is paramount. According to her, there is no such thing as "gamey taste". All meat has a distinctive flavor & a gamey taste usually means it is simply spoiled. The example she gave was, " imagine if you went out in the barn yard & shot a chicken with a load of #6 shot & then threw it in your trunk & drove around with it all day like a lot of hunters do with pheasants. Then when you get home, clean it & give it to your wife to cook. Your wife would probably say it was rotten & throw it out to the dogs. When that happens with a game bird, it has a gamey taste!"


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 Post subject: Re: pheasant is tough when cooked
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:09 pm 
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My wife loves pheasant and we prepare it in a variety of recipes. Over the past several years I have taken to hanging all my birds, unless I get one that is badly shot up. We have found that it greatly improves the meat. Here is a pretty comprehensive article on the topic:

https://honest-food.net/on-hanging-pheasants-2/

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 Post subject: Re: pheasant is tough when cooked
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:22 pm 
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Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
That was a really good article. It reminds me of old tales I heard. One was that ducks were hung on the clothes line by their tail feathers in colder weather (this is SC). When they fell off, they were ready to cook. Another was a tale told by a friend's father. They would give their fish ducks to an old codger in exchange for cleaning their more palatable birds. One day the senior member of the group asked the old gent how he could eat ducks that were so fishy. He replied with words to the effect," I just bury them all except their tail feathers & digs them back up in a few days & all the fish taste be gone." I don't think I can recommend that but?? I don't have a sophisticated method of aging venison. It is just me & my better half these days so I don't usually kill more than two deer in a year. I have been aging it in a cooler on ice that is contained in plastic jugs for about 7 days. I never measured the temperature but it stays cold to the touch


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 Post subject: Re: pheasant is tough when cooked
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 11:54 pm 
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My grandmother told of "the men shooting rabbits" when she was a child in S-W Illinois. When the weather got cold they would start shooting rabbits and hanging them. When they had a good quantity, they took them to town and traded them to the store owner for Christmas presents. The store owner packed them in barrels and shipped them to Chicago for the restaurants.



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