Video: Field to Table, Roast Brined Pheasant

You’ve got the pheasant. Now what? Chef and hunter Lukas Leaf shows you how to turn that whole pheasant into a moist, succulent roast that’s rich with flavor. With some herbs and a few other key ingredients, you’re just hours away from one of the tastiest pheasant dishes you’ve ever had. Watch the video below to see how it's done.

Roast Brined Pheasant

Brining the pheasant with a seasoned salt-and-water solution adds flavor and helps keep the meat moist as it roasts. Carrots halved lengthwise serve as a rack to hold the pheasant above the pan’s surface while it roasts.


5 cups water
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 (6-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary
1 orange, quartered
3 bay leaves
2 whole nutmegs, crushed*
1 cinnamon stick, halved
2 teaspoons whole cloves
2 teaspoons whole juniper berries
2 teaspoons whole allspice


1 whole pheasant
3 carrots, halved lengthwise
1 apple, such as Honeycrisp or McIntosh, cut into 6 wedges
1 orange, cut into 6 wedges
1 bunch fresh herbs, such as rosemary, sage and/or thyme
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup no-sodium chicken broth
½ cup apple cider
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

1. Combine all brine ingredients in large saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes or until sugar and salt are dissolved and mixture is flavorful, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

2. Pour brine into large bowl; stir in enough ice to cool to room temperature.

3. Place pheasant in large non-reactive container; add brine to cover. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours.

4. Heat oven to 375°F. Arrange carrots evenly spaced over bottom of shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Remove pheasant from brine; pat dry. Discard brine.

5. Stuff apple wedges, orange sections and fresh herbs into cavity of pheasant. Rub outside of pheasant with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set pheasant on the carrots. Combine chicken broth and apple cider in large measuring cup; pour half of mixture into roasting pan. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the pan.

6. Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes or until internal temperature in thickest part reaches 165°F., basting with pan juices every 10 minutes.

7. Heat broiler. Broil 3 to 5 minutes or until pheasant is browned and crisp. Remove pheasant; cover loosely with foil. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before carving.

8. Meanwhile, add remaining chicken broth mixture and 2 tablespoons butter to roasting pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, scraping up any browned bits on bottom of pan. Boil 3 to 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Serve with pheasant.

2 servings

TIP *To crush nutmeg, place on a cutting board and smash with a meat mallet or heavy pan.

Watch the Field to Table video on how to make the ideal side dish to serve with Roast Brined Pheasant.

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