Find It Fast
- About: Flavor | Domestic Equivalents | Drying Out
- Basics: Plucking | Hanging | Breaking Down | Confit | Pan-Roasting | Dirty Rice
- Pheasant recipes: Whole birds | Breasts | Stews & Braises | Other
- Recipes for: Partridges | Turkey | Grouse | Snipe & Woodcock | Quail
Pheasant, snipe, quail, wild turkey, partridge, grouse. These are the chicken of wild game birds. Pheasants being the semi-wild cousins of chickens, and quail, partridges and chukars all being accessible from a taste standpoint.
The notable exception is the ruffed grouse, which has a strong flavor that, in my mind, makes it far superior to pheasant or quail, which can be bland.
To those of you who do not hunt, pheasants and quail are easily obtainable; our local high-end supermarket has them all the time. They will have even less of a wild flavor than their country cousins, but they are still a fair piece better than your average chicken. And yes, chicken can be subbed in for any pheasant dish.
One thing all these birds have in common is that they should not be served rare and they can all dry out in a heartbeat. Fun, huh? Makes them more of a challenge. You do, however, want a blush of pink on them, like a good-quality pork loin.
If you know what you are doing they are great roasted or grilled, but do not walk away or they will dry out. Pheasants are especially good poached, whether in butter or broth.
Quail are delicate little birds best served whole but partially deboned. I intend to post a step-by-step tutorial on deboning birds soon. Believe me, it’s not real easy.
All these birds make superior stock, and the legs, thighs and wings of all are excellent made into confit.
NOTE: Most of these recipes are interchangeable, i.e., if you like a pheasant recipe but have partridges or sharptail grouse or wild turkey or a domestic chicken, it’ll work.
How to Pluck a Pheasant or Grouse
This is how I pluck pheasants, quail and other upland game birds.
On Hanging Pheasants
Everything you need to know about safely hanging game birds of all kinds.
Cutting a Whole Chicken or Pheasant
Step by step instructions on how to cut up pheasants, ducks, quail or other birds.
Probably the best thing you can do with the legs of upland game birds like pheasants, turkeys or big grouse. Slow cooked and pulled off the bone, this gets around those nasty tendons.
Perfect Pan Roasted Birds
This is the absolute best way to cook small game birds like partridges, grouse, quail, chukars or even pheasants.
Cajun Dirty Rice
An excellent all-purpose recipe for upland game bird giblets. You will not even know you are eating them in this dish, which is basically Cajun fried rice.
Simple Roast Pheasant
A basic recipe for roasting a whole, skin-on pheasant.
Beer Can Pheasant
Similar to beer can chicken, this is slow cooked pheasant on the grill propped up with a Red Bull can or a narrow jelly jar. It really works!
A whole pheasant, slow-smoked over hardwoods and glazed with maple syrup or honey.
Pheasant and Dumplings
Just like the Southern classic chicken and dumplings, only with pheasants.
The Austrian classic, made with pounded out skinless pheasant breast cutlets.
Ultimate Pheasant Tacos
Elevate your pheasant tacos by adding crispy fried pheasant skin – you won’t regret it!
Pounded skinless pheasant cutlets, breaded and served with a tangy lemon-white wine sauce… and lots of butter.
A fantastic use for shredded, skinless pheasant, quail or grouse breasts, rolled in a tortilla and fried crispy. Serve with your favorite salsa.
This Thai curry is quick and easy if you use pheasant breasts and premade curry paste. Exotic on a weeknight? This is it.
Peperonata with Pheasant
Skinless pheasant breast cooked with sweet and spicy peppers and onions.
General Tso’s Pheasant
This is basically the crack cocaine of Chinese food. Slightly sweet, savory and spicy, this is one of the best recipes on this website.
Kung Pao Pheasant
What I love about the dish is its combination of texture and flavor: Hot, fried chiles, silky meat, crunchy peanuts.
Chinese Orange Chicken, with Pheasant
If you like Panda Express’ orange chicken, consider this the adult version of it. Sweet, spicy, crispy and awesome. Works with thigh meat, too.
A dish inspired by the plants I saw around me when I hunted pheasants in western Kansas.
Pheasant Breast with Parsley Sauce
Seared pheasant breast with a refined – and beautiful – parsley sauce inspired by the French Laundry.
Stews and Braises
Pheasant Noodle Soup
The classic chicken soup, done with pheasants. Other game birds work fine here, too. Comfort food for the soul.
The Italian standard, made with pheasant instead of chicken. Also works with other game birds or rabbit.
Classic French coq au vin, done with pheasant or grouse.
Pheasant Thighs with Garlic and Root Vegetables
Pretty self explanatory, this is an easy recipe that makes good use of pheasant thighs — and pretty much any root vegetable you have lying around.
Read More about Pheasant Thighs with Garlic and Root Vegetables
This is a big, hearty stew that always has at least three meats in it. In this recipe it’s pheasant, squirrel and venison. Feel free to improvise on your own!
Greek Pheasant Pasta
A fantastic Greek recipe from Chef Michael Psilakis of New York City. This one is shockingly awesome.
This is the green version of the traditional Mexican stew, using pheasant, wild turkey or any white meat.
Ethiopian Doro Wat
A rich chicken stew, doro wat was always the most popular recipe on the menu at the Horn of Africa in Madison, Wisconsin, where I worked in the early 1990s.
German Pheasant Stew
Although this recipe is designed for rabbit, it works just as well for pheasants or other game birds.
Braised Pheasant with Mushrooms
Braised pheasant, turkey (or chicken) legs, done French style with lots of mushrooms.
French Hunter's Stew
This is a more refined version of the Italian cacciatore. The recipe comes from Chartreuse, in the French Alps.
Pheasant with Apples
Yet another French dish with pheasant, this one with apples, brandy and cream. It is, as you might guess, from Normandy, in the north of France.
Pheasant with Mushrooms and Cream
No, NOT Cream of Mushroom soup! Well, sorta. Only you make it from scratch here…
This recipe actually DOES have Cream of Mushroom soup in it. It is the only recipe on this website to do so. Why? It is a 1970s dish I grew up with (made with chicken), and it is as awesome as it is easy.
A Rustic Pheasant Pie
This is a pot pie inspired by a recipe from English chef Fergus Henderson.
Other Pheasant Recipes
This is the perfect – and irresistible – thing to do with tender young roosters. It’s great for dinner, and great cold for leftovers the next day.
Pheasant Wings Buffalo Style
Yep, you can make Buffalo wings with pheasant wings. Once you simmer them a bit to tenderize them, they are every bit as good as chicken wings.
Honey Mustard Wings
Another great recipe for pheasant wings. Like the Buffalo wings, only with a honey mustard sauce!
Italian Giblet Bolognese
A variation on the classic Italian Bolognese sauce for pasta, you’ll see this recipe all around Tuscany. A great way to introduce people to eating giblets.
This is basically German mac and cheese with pheasant bits in it. Kids love it!
PARTRIDGES (CHUKAR, HUNS, ETC)
Partridges with Cranberries and Rosemary
A deceptively simple dish, the secret to this recipe is how you cook the partridges.
Pan Roasted Partridge with a Winter Salad
Perfectly cooked partridges with a zippy salad of winter greens.
Grilled Partridges with Tomato Salad
This is for when you have a few partridges left over from the season. Save a couple to make this light summertime supper.
Hungarian Partridge Montana
Huns roasted, carved and served with spaetzle and a sweet-and-sour sauce.
Brined Roast Chukar or Partridge
Brining these birds helps keep them moist when you roast them. This one is served with an apple brandy sauce.
Partridge Baked in Salt
Entombing the birds in salt is another way to preserve the moisture in the partridges — if you use the right salt.
Partridge or Pheasant Escabeche
An old Spanish tradition, where the birds are cooked, then preserved for up to several weeks in a vinegary sauce.
Read More about Spanish Partridge, Pheasant or Quail Escabeche
WILD or DOMESTIC TURKEY
Turkey and Bean Soup
A hearty soup of turkey legs and thighs, smoked sausage and beans.
Turkey Breast Tacos
Turkey breast tacos with jack cheese and roasted poblano chiles. Easy and tasty!
Turkey Tamales with Pumpkin
Perfect for Thanksgiving leftovers. This is a recipe from the Yucatan, where turkey is always on the menu.
Poached Turkey Breast with Gravy
A good way to keep wild turkey breast tender. This is a perfect Thanksgiving meal for a small family.
Hank’s Turkey Mole
A savory Mexican sauce traditionally served with turkey, you gently cook turkey breast in the sauce, slice and serve.
Smoked Boneless Turkey Breast
If you like the turkey breast you get at the deli, you’ll love this recipe. It’s a smoked, honey’glazed turkey breast you can eat warm or cold.
Wild Turkey Parmesan
Just like chicken parm, only with wild turkey. And yep, you can make this with any upland game bird.
Another classic restaurant dish, this is pounded, skinless cutlets from turkey (or pheasant) breast, breaded and served with a sauce that hinges on Marsala wine and mushrooms.
Wild Turkey Carnitas
The BEST thing to make with wild turkey drumsticks. You get around the sinews by slow cooking the meat and pulling it off the bone. Then it’s taco time!
Turkey Black Bean Chili
Ground turkey with black beans, corn and chiles. I love this chili in early springtime!
Classic Cajun gumbo featuring turkey dark meat, andouille sausage and Gulf shrimp.
Turkey Leg Stew
A desert Southwest take on turkey leg stew. Drumsticks, slow-cooked and pulled off the bone, served with green chile and corn.
Shredded Turkey Yucatan
A traditional southern Mexican dish that is great with turkey legs and wings, although you can use breast meat. It is more exotic tasting than spicy.
BBQ Turkey Legs
Turkey thighs are the absolute best part of the bird! Slow barbecued and slathered with maple-bourbon BBQ sauce, you will wonder why you never kept them before…
Smoked Turkey Wings
Don’t waste those turkey wings! Braise them until tender, then barbecue them with your favorite sauce. You’re welcome…
Braised Turkey Wings
A classic French dish of braised turkey wings with Provencal flavors. A great use of an unloved part of the bird.
A traditional Sheboygan bratwurst made with wild turkey.
Wild Turkey Broth
A basic broth you can make from the carcasses of a wild or domesticated turkey.
Barley is a main crop in the cold places of the world, so this method of cooking really works with northern ingredients, like the spruce grouse I used in this recipe.
On Eating Sage Grouse
Sage grouse are much maligned. They don’t deserve their reputation. Here are some tips on getting the most out of yours.
Sharptail Grouse, Prairie Style
Sharpies, gently poached and served with the flavors of the Great Plains: Grain, sunflowers, rose hips.
Simple Roast Grouse
Ruffed grouse roasted and glazed with something sweet, like maple syrup or honey.
Nordic Grouse Soup
This is a lighter grouse soup, inspired by the flavors of Scandinavia.
Roast Sharp-tailed Grouse
A simple recipe specifically designed for sharp-tailed grouse, which are a dark meat bird.
SNIPE and WOODCOCK
A classic preparation for one of the finest game birds in the world.
Jesse’s Fried Snipe
Inspired by my friend Jesse Griffiths, this is my favorite way to eat snipe: Fried and doused with honey-hot sauce.
Roast woodcock, served with a crabapple-red wine vinegar sauce.
Yes, it’s a real bird. Snipe should be plucked whole and served roasted in a very hot oven. You want the meat to be pink when you serve it.
Salmis of Snipe
A very old French recipe for snipe (or other small game birds) where you roast the birds, carve them, make a quick sauce with the carcasses and serve it all with mushrooms and thick toast.
Buttermilk Fried Quail
Southern style fried quail. This is not fancy food, just good.
Simple Roast Quail
A basic method for roasting quail. You want a touch of pink in the breast meat but crisp skin. This requires a very hot oven.
Quail slow cooked and pulled off the bone, served in a classic Mexican soup called caldo tlalpeno.
Grilled Quail, South Carolina Style
Butterflied quail grilled and served with a mustardy South Carolina style BBQ sauce.
BBQ Quail Southwest Style
Barbecued quail slathered in a Southwest style BBQ sauce that has tequila, wild chiltepin chiles and prickly pear syrup.