Smoked Pheasant Snacks

Right around when school starts, pheasant season does too. They go great together, as the white poultry can be transformed into mouth-watering snacks for the kids to take to school. Another bonus? Your kid can boast about how cool their parents are for harvesting their own meat.

Smoked pheasant can be glazed with syrups or honey and seasoned with black pepper or jalapeño. Brining the birds first adds flavour and tenderness and is thankfully an easy process.

Pheasant plucked and smoked whole always holds more moisture, with the fat under the skin rendering to provide even more flavour. If birds are skinned, you can remove the legs and thighs as one piece and fillet each breast off the bone.

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  • 2 pheasants
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 4 cups water (or enough to submerge your pheasant)
  • 2 cups maple syrup


  1. Dissolve brown sugar, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and white pepper in cold water to make the brine.
  2. Place pheasants in a large sealable container or plastic zippered bag and cover them with the brine. If necessary, add ice or water to ensure all portions of the pheasants are immersed in brine. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. Remove the pheasants from the brine, rinse with cold water, and pat dry. Allow the birds to air dry until you can see a sheen on flesh. If the surface of the bird isn’t dry, the smoke won’t penetrate.
  4. Heat your smoker to 200°F and place the birds on the rack. Smoke with alder or applewood chips.
  5. Place the maple syrup in a small saucepan, and simmer until reduced to half.
  6. Glaze the pheasant every half hour with the maple syrup reduction. Add cracked pepper or jalapeño if desired.
  7. Use a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the bird. When it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, remove from the smoker. This can take between 3 and 5 hours.
  8. Your smoked pheasant is an excellent meal when hot, but it can also be cooled and sliced thin. Eat as a snack or combine with cheese and crackers.



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