Meat Hacks: The Best Way to Cook Pheasant?
Meat Hacks: The Best Way to Cook Pheasant?
Learn the Best Way to Cook Pheasant with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below.
As any hunting enthusiast knows cooking wild game presents a few more challenges than cooking a farm raised store bought cut of meat. These are animals that lived in the wild on different diets than what they are fed when raised on a farm. They tend to be a little tougher and can have a gamey taste to them this doesn’t mean that we should just accept that they will give us an inferior finished product though.
We’ve had some pheasant sitting in a freezer here for a while and today we are going to prepare and cook them a few different ways and see which one gives us the best results. We have 16 breasts so we are going to Smoke half of them and Sous Vide the other half. We are going to marinate a few of them overnight in butter flavored seasoning which has phosphates to increase the water holding capacity of the meat and then rub them with a few different seasonings. We are also going to marinade two of them with the Kentucky bourbon Spirited Sauce and two in the Smokey Habanero Chipotle sauce and then smoke and sous vide one of each and see which marinade and which cooking method we liked the best.
Now since this is pheasant we do need to get the internal temp up to 165° for food safety so we are going to set our sous vide for 165° and cook them for 4 hours. This will give us our lethality and make the meat nice and tender. For smoking we are going to smoke them at 225° until the internal temp is 165° which should take about 2 hours and we will smoke them over apple woodchips.
The ones we smoked came out tasty but very dry, this is pretty common when smoking pheasant. The ones that were smoked and marinated with phosphates did retain some extra juice but they were still more dry than I would normally prefer.
The Pheasant Breasts that we Sous Vide however were very tender and plump! The ones that we marinated with Phosphate definitely did retain some extra moisture but either way they were still great and far more tender (and tasty) than the smoked ones. Another unintended consequence of Sous Videing then was that some of the gamey taste seemed to go away.
All in all if you have a way to Sous Vide your Pheasant or other birds it is absolutely worth it!
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Jon I’m shocked that you didn’t lean on your upstate NY past and try Spiedie sauce. We marinate halves of any game birds for 24-48 hours just like chicken and grill over indirect heat, sear to finish. If you cube the breasts and skewer them, they would make a great sandwich. If you need a care package from the ROC, you know who to call…
AllanMoyer last edited by
@parksider I think Waltons should donate a saw of their choosing for us to do a review on or any of their products for an honest and
AllanMoyer last edited by
@allanmoyer I want to apologize my last post was meant as a joke but for some reason my LOL at the end did not show.
@allanmoyer Haha it’s all good Allan, I don’t even think we stock a Saw anymore, everything is special order these days but man are they useful to have when you need it!
@parksider A bit of an embarrassing fact is that I didn’t really eat wild game (other than venison jerky) when I was in upstate NY! It just wasn’t part of my culture at that point, moving down to Texas and now Kansas has fixed that but what is Spiedie Sauce?
It’s a vinegar, oil, and spice marinade, very popular in upstate NY. Usually chicken cubed in 1"ish pieces and marinaded for a few days, grilled on kabob skewers, and served on a sausage roll. We do halves of game birds, marinade in 2gallon zip locks then indirect grill. Keep some of the marinade to baste with since wild birds are very lean.
In the ‘Meat Block’ you don’t list using a cure. The packet of Landjaeger seasoning I purchased came with a packet of Cure.
As this is a sausage that is ment to be consumed without cooking shouldn’t a cure be used. I know you put in the wrap up about using Smoked Meat Stabilizer or Sodium Erythorbate are they equivalent to using a true cure.
You shouldn’t have a noticeable difference in stuffing based upon the difference of using a grinder or a bowl chopper.
Your biggest help in making stuffing easier will be using plenty of water. At least 1 quart per 25 lb meat block, but up to 2 quarts is even better. And, your lean to fat ratio will make a difference. Leaner meat will be harder to stuff while a higher fat content will make things easier. Keep the meat as cold as possible too and that will help make things a little easier to stuff as well.
I would continue to use the grinder and just add a little more water to the mixture and make sure you lube the gasket and you should be good to go. Although you could definitely use the Buffalo chopper and just add ice instead of straight water and that should help.
Specialty Sausage 103: Making Landjaeger
Attend this entry-level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!What is Landjaeger?
Landjaeger is a German sausage that is made from a combination of beef and pork. It is stuffed into natural casings and can be smoked and semi-dried or just smoked. Before smoking, it will be pressed either flat or formed with a mold to give it its classic flattened look.Meat Block
Landjaeger needs to be stuffed into a natural hog casing for it to really be an authentic landjaeger and we also want to press and form it so natural hog is the best choice. I’m using a home pack of hog casings so they need to have the salt rinsed off of the casings, then the insides need to be flushed with running water and then let them soak for an hour in warm water.
We need to cut up our beef and pork into pieces that a grinder will easily handle. The smaller the grinder you are using the smaller you will need to cut up your product. With something like this Weston #12 Butcher Series, we want to cut our product into chunks between 2 and 3 inches.
I have had our meat in the freezer for about 45 minutes before to make it ice cold, cold meat will always grind better than warm meat. We will we are going to grind the beef once through a 3/16th plate, before we started we made sure our plates and knives were well oiled to prevent any friction between the plate and knife, this would cause the plate to heat up and it would add unnecessary wear and tear on our equipment. Then we will grind the pork twice, first through a 3/16th-inch plate to break down the meat and then through a 1/8 plate to finish it off.Meat Mixing
We are going to smoke this so we need to get good protein extraction when mixing. Place in a mixer with water, seasoning, and cure and mix until you have achieved protein extraction. Remember to mix it an even amount of time forward and reverse, about 8 minutes should do it. Remember if you are using Encapsulated Citric Acid like we are that it needs to be added during the last 60 seconds of mixing or you run the risk of breaking the encapsulation.Sausage Stuffing
Before you load your stuffer you should oil your piston gasket with White Oil to make sure it moves smoothly along the walls of the canister. Load your stuffer, being careful not to create any air pockets in the canister and stuff it somewhat loosely into the casings, you will want to stuff them loosely so you can form them before smoking.Thermal Processing & Smoking
Lay them out on screens in a smoker and cook with no smoke at 120° for 30 minutes, then 140° for 1 hour, again with no smoke at this stage and dampers still wide open, then at 145° with smoke for an hour and finally 180° until internal temp reaches 160°. The smoking process is a lot easier with something like the Grilleye Pro Plus thermometer that can track your temperature and alert you when you have reached your desired temps. Adding a water pan is a good idea to help add some moisture to the smoker.Cooling
Once you are done smoking them leave them out for an hour at room temperature to allow them to cool and then place them in a fridge for 24 hours before vacuum packing.Wrap up
All in all the largest difficulty we faced was flattening the Landjaeger out. Other than that it was really very similar to making any other cured sausage. Adding more water might have made the flattening the meat out easier and allow it to hold it’s shape better, if we do this again we will try that.
I would also either use less Encapsulated Citric Acid as the seasoning appears to have some tang to it by itself. So if you still want to use a cure accelerator I would recommend Smoked Meat Stabilizer or Sodium ErythorbateAdditional Tips As always make sure you keep your meat as cold as you can before grinding. This not only helps speed the grinding process but also helps with food safety which is especially important here if you are going to try to flatten it out. *In the end, flattening out the sausage was the hardest part, getting it between two hard surfaces with a LOT of weight is important. * Other Notes
We also tried to take an extra stuffing tube and flatten the opening with a vice to give us the desired flattened outlook. I was limited in how much I could flatten it out and still be able to get the hog casing over the flattened out portion. Once I stuffed the meat into the casings it immediately took on the shape of the casing so it did not work.Watch WaltonsTV: Specialty Sausage 103: Landjaeger Shop waltonsinc.com for Cured Sausage Seasoning Shop waltonsinc.com for Meat Grinders Shop waltonsinc.com for Sausage Stuffers Shop waltonsinc.com for Boning Knives
looking at some of the questions about stuffing snack sticks got me to thinking. For years I have used my grinder to grind the meat for the process and then mix and stuff right away. The stuffer was hard to turn but not impossible, I purchased a 20 electric LEM stuffer a few years back and it just doesn’t have enough power for the snack sticks. I do have a buffalo chopper and was wondering if I used that instead of just grinding it and adding a bit of water to the mix if it would be easier to stuff. has anyone done this?