Pheasant is one of the most popular of game birds. Pheasant has pinkish white meat. The delicate flavor of farm-raised pheasant is subtle and pleasant, with a discernible trace of apple in many cases. Pheasant should be cooked quickly at high temperature.
Pheasants are prized game birds that are renowned for their succulent, tender and flavorful meat. These birds, which are about the size of a domestic chicken, can be found in most U.S. states. When prepared properly, their meat can be a nutritious and flavorful addition to any meal. You can anticipate trying pheasant meat for yourself by knowing where to find and how to cook it for your table.
Barding the breast is often recommended. The leg and thigh meat tends to be a bit darker and firmer than the tender breast meat. The two served together offer a good balance of flavor and texture. Whole pheasants weight between 2 and 3 pounds and will serve 2 people.
Is Pheasant Meat Legal in the United States?
Meat from pheasant is legal in the U.S. and considered to be one of the most delectable game fowl meats that you can put on your table. Most states have pheasant populations that thrive naturally in them. However, when you want to enjoy successful hunting of these birds, you need to travel to a state that is home to robust populations that can be hunted and taken each fall.
The best states to hunt for pheasant include Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah, California and Montana. These states allow for hunting of these birds in the fall and open for firearm season as early as October each year. Some states also have bow and arrow seasons for hunting pheasants and allow hunters to bag two birds per tag.
Where to Buy Pheasant Meat
If you are not much of a hunter, you can still buy pheasant meat from a number of sources. You should note that it is not legal to buy the meat from international sources, such as those in China or Asia where pheasants are also native. Any meat that you buy has to come from a domestic source and must be USDA inspected.
With that, you can buy the meat from meat processing plants that specialize in processing wild game. These plants will buy the meat to process from farms that raise pheasants specifically for meat production.
You can also buy it online from retailers that sell wild game and exotic meats. Again, because of stringent food and safety laws, these online retailers must be USDA inspected and licensed.
What Does Pheasant Meat Taste Like?
Anyone who eats pheasant meat will tell you that it tastes a great deal like chicken, only gamier. In fact, it is classified as a white meat and looks much like domestically raised chicken does after it is processed. However, it does have a noticeable gamey flavor that can throw off people who are not used to eating wild game.
If you do not enjoy the game flavor, you can soak the meat in milk for one to two days to draw out the gaminess and bring out the natural flavor of the meat. You can then prepare it just as you would chicken that you would buy at the grocery store.
How to Cook Pheasant Meat
The basis for learning how to cook pheasant meat is to appreciate it for its similarity to domestically raised chicken that you would buy from your local grocery store. In fact, you can process it just as you would any other whole fryer chicken. You can cut it up into breast pieces, drumsticks, thighs, and wings.
Many hunters also like to eat the organ meat of the pheasants that they take. They remove the heart, gizzard and liver to eat by themselves or use as flavoring in soups, stews and gravy.
After you process your bird, you can cook it in a variety of ways. The most popular ways to cook the meat is to bread and fry it. You can also grill, bake or braise it to bring out its natural juices and flavor. It can also be stewed for making soup or used as a base for dumplings.
Pheasant Meat Nutrition Facts
A three-ounce serving of this meat contains 20 grams of protein and 114 calories. It has three grams of fat and 66 milligrams of cholesterol. It also contains 11 milligrams of calcium, 17 milligrams of magnesium and 223 milligrams of potassium.
It is also a good source of nutrients like:
- Vitamin A
It contains 31 milligrams of sodium.
Pheasant meat is one of the most flavorful game meats that you can put on your table. You can hunt these birds in a number of states in the U.S. It contains important nutrients and can be prepared like chicken.