A very guilty pleasure of mine, hunter’s chicken was something I grew up cooking as a youngster on holiday in a rainy caravan park. It’s one of those nostalgic things that if I see it on a menu I will always order. I’m a sucker for anything covered in sharp cheddar, sweet bbq sauce and bacon!
You can ultimately turn any poultry or wild game into a hunter’s style dish – just choose your protein (breasts or a whole boned bird), choose your cheese and cover with a homemade BBQ sauce and you’ll have created something rather delicious. Our Hunter’s recipe calls for a whole pheasant, all rustled up in The Big Green Egg, for a super succulent wild pot roast to be eaten with a big winter salad and a side of your favourite pickles.
To double down on succulence, the aim of this Hunter’s Pheasant recipe is to take a whole pheasant and remove all of the bones from it, keeping the legs intact so that we can stuff the breast meat and roll it all up to create an easy carve mini joint, with the legs tied like a traditional roast. Removing the bone and tying everything together gives the roast a little more density and the cheesy stuffing inside will help to lock in some of the steamy goodness. If boning out an entire pheasant seems too daunting you can, if you purchase your pheasant from your butchers ask them to remove the bones for you saving you on time and potentially wastage.
1 oven ready pheasant
3 rashers dry cured green streaky bacon
5g The Salt Box BBQ Barn Blend
Salt and pepper
50g sharp cheddar, grated
50g Sparkenhoe red leicester, grated
200g onion, finely diced
20ml rapeseed oil
2 garlic cloves
300g wild cherry plums / plums
100g light soft brown sugar
30ml red wine vinegar
30ml soy sauce (or Tamari to make it Gluten Free)
30ml pontac sauce or Worcestershire sauce
25g Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
To bone the pheasant, place the pheasant breast side down on a chopping board with its legs facing you. Using a very sharp knife score down the length of the back bone. Use your knife to work around the pheasant releasing the meat from the cage, trying your hardest not to puncture the meat or create lots of holes in the skin.
When you get down to the legs, pop the joints out where the thigh bone meets the carcass and continue to remove the breast meat from both sides of the pheasant carcass. Carefully work your knife along the breast bone which should free the cage from the meat. Reserve the bones for stock. The leg bones can stay in the pheasant and will help it to hold its shape whilst it cooks.
Place the pheasant breast side down season well with salt and pepper. Scatter over half of the grated cheese and roughly roll pheasant so that it takes the form of its original shape. Drape over the rashers of bacon and tie with butcher’s string to hold its shape whilst it cooks.
Start by washing your plums well, remove the stones and roughly chop.
Place a saucepan over a medium heat, drizzle in the rapeseed oil and add the finely diced onions. Sweat for a few minutes and stir in the garlic. Stir in the plums and cook until just starting to collapse.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients and bring to a bare simmer. Cook for 10 minutes and remove from the heat. Let the BBQ sauce cool slightly before blending with a stick blender until smooth. If you like a super smooth sauce, pass it through a fine sieve.
Pour the sauce into warm sterilised jars or bottles and refrigerate. Consume within 3 months.
Set your Big Green Egg (or other ceramic cooker) up for hot smoking using the Conveggtor plate and place some smoking chunks into embers of your Egg. Smoke the pheasant for 30-40 minutes orr until the core temperature hits 55℃ using a BBQ thermometer.
Remove the pheasant from the Egg and remove the Conveggtor plate. Snip the butcher’s string from around the pheasant breasts and carefully remove them without tearing off the bacon.
Increase the heat in the Egg to 180-190℃. Ladle around 100ml of your BBQ sauce and scatter over the remaining cheese. Bake the hunter’s pheasant until the cheese is melted and the core temperature of the pheasant hits 70℃.
Take the pheasant out of the Egg and let it rest for a few minutes, to allow the core temperature to settle and the sauce to become a little less like lava!
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Making your own BBQ sauce is of course optional, but we promise you it’s worthwhile.
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If you are interested in learning more about pheasant, check out our Spotlight On Pheasant article.
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