What Is the Best Way to Cook Pheasant so It Remains Moist?


Quick Answer

For hunters who shoot their own pheasants, keeping the skin on is a must to avoid dryness. For people buying pheasant breasts at specialty grocers, the skin-on variety is the best bet. Skin shields against dryness and contains some of the only fat on a mostly lean bird.

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What Is the Best Way to Cook Pheasant so It Remains Moist?
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Full Answer

During the cooking process, the skin keeps the dry heat from directly touching the breast meat. The fat in the skin comes out as well, giving the muscle fibers a moist coating and additional flavor.

If the pheasant breast has come skinless, deep poaching is the best bet for retaining moisture. Cooking with dry heat draws the moisture out of the breast while moving into the meat. The surfaces dries out in just a matter of minutes without adding that crispy coating. Deep poaching coats the breast in a lower temperature than dry heat, and the liquid medium keeps the meat from drying out. This requires putting the breast in a pan and covering it with a couple inches of butter, olive oil or stock. After adding spices and herbs, cooking the bird on medium until the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit keeps the breast juicy.

If the skin is still on, roasting the pheasant at a low heat and finishing with a high-temperature sear to leave a crispy finish is the best bet for leaving the meat moist. Starting with the oven at 225 degrees Fahrenheit and roasting the pheasant on a rack over a baking sheet until the meat is 155 degrees Fahrenheit at its thickest point precedes searing the breast in the pan on the skin side for 30 seconds and then the other side for 15 seconds.

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