About 5 days after receiving the two Pheasants I previously blogged about, I actually did end up preparing them, don’t let the lack of posts fool you! Considering it was the first time I ever prepared an intact animal, it was a bit of a learning curve, but not as off-putting as I thought it might be.
I have made a number of observations and learned quite a bit, so I thought I’d share my newly acquired wisdom with you!
- Pheasant tastes nice, though not like any other bird I’ve eaten. Texture wise the meat reminded me more of rabbit. If you’re totally new to game meat, it might take a few bites to get used to the flavour
- Hanging dead animals (provided they do not have gut wounds) for a few days in a cool and dry place improves their flavour. – I’ll admit I have nothing to compare them to, but after cooking they were quite tender, and luckily they did not smell nasty before cooking – it was very cold, and effectively they matured for 6-7 days in temperatures <5 degrees celsius.
- Pheasants cannot be plucked after maturing. The skin is too soft and just pulls off with the feathers.
- Pheasants cannot be “field dressed” after maturing. They just break apart. In hindsight, the word “field” should have tipped me off to this fact.
- My brand new £8.99 roaster with lid from Aldi turned out very useful indeed. As the pheasants were skinned rather than plucked, they needed to be braised in order to avoid drying the meat out. If you wanted to roast a skinned bird, you’d need to cover it in bacon or similar to keep the meat moist but I was worried the bacon flavour would overpower the meat itself.
- Pheasants are a lean meat, very much unlike duck which does not need a sauce or gravy with it as such because of all the tasty juicy fat in it. So provide for wetness to go with the meat and any side dish you intend to serve.