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Move Over, Turkey: Pheasant for Thanksgiving

  • 11/24/2015 6:48:00 AM
  • View Count 11813
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With pheasant numbers up, it's time to not only reinstate the annual Thanksgiving pheasant hunt tradition, but to put one on the table for the big holiday meal, too.

Follow the directions below to field dress your bird, then prepare it for a delicious Thanksgiving feast (or anytime, really).

Delicious Roasted Iowa Pheasant

Step 1 - Brine

8 cups water

1/2 cup kosher salt

1 cup brown sugar

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1 pinch ground cloves

Juice from 1/2 orange

1 dash cayenne pepper

1 whole pheasant


• Bring water and salt to a boil, cool to room temperature (45 min)

• Add sugar, onions, garlic, cloves, orange juice, cayenne pepper and pheasant, cover and refrigerate overnight.


Step 2 - Cook

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

• Inside the pheasant add a slice of onion, piece of carrot, one-two cloves garlic, an orange slice and a bunch or two of thyme. Add a can of chicken broth to the roasting pan. Place brined pheasant breast up in the pan. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Tie the legs with butcher’s twine (optional). Baste frequently.

• Roast uncovered for about 1 hour, check bird and roast for 15 more min. Keep an eye on your bird to avoid over cooking. Allow bird to rest 15 min before carving.

Stuff turkey this Thanksgiving and serve pheasant instead! Delicious Roasted Pheasant recipe | Iowa DNR