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Smoked Pheasant Recipe: How to Glaze with Delicious Recipes

Let’s dive into the world of preparing a sumptuous smoked pheasant recipe, where the rich smoky flavor of the pheasant meets the sweet flavors of a homemade glaze. This recipe is a great way to introduce wild game birds to your dinner table, especially if you’re a seasonal hunter in the United States or a fan of unique flavors. Pheasant meat, being a lean meat, absorbs the flavors of the smoking process beautifully, resulting in a dish that’s sure to impress.

The Importance of Brining

Brining is an important step in many wild game recipes. It helps to tenderize the meat, ensuring a moist and flavorful result. You can choose between a wet brine or a dry brine, depending on your preference. A wet brine, typically involving cold water, kosher salt, and simple ingredients like brown sugar or maple syrup, is a great option for those who want to ensure a moist, tender bird. A dry brine, often made with salt and a bit of variety of spices, is ideal for those who prefer a more robust flavor and crispy pheasant skin.

A bowl of wet brine ingredients including cold water, kosher salt, and brown sugar.

Choosing the Right Wood Chips

Choosing the right wood chips is integral to the smoking process and can greatly influence the final flavor of your smoked pheasant. Apple wood chips are a popular choice for smoking pheasant, imparting a slightly sweet, fruity flavor that complements the lean meat well. Pecan wood is another great option, offering a rich, nutty flavor that pairs well with the pheasant. Ultimately, the wood of your choice should complement the unique flavor of the pheasant meat.

A selection of various wood chips including apple wood and pecan wood.

Preparing the Pheasant for Smoking

Once your pheasant has been brined, it’s time to prepare it for smoking. This usually involves patting the bird dry with paper towels and applying a dry rub. The dry rub, made with simple ingredients like black pepper, white pepper, and olive oil, gives the bird a delicious flavor and helps to create a crispy skin. It’s also a good idea to let the bird sit at room temperature for a half hour before smoking to ensure even cooking.

Smoking the Pheasant

The smoking time for a pheasant is typically around 2-3 hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit, but this can vary depending on the size of the bird and the type of smoker you’re using. Pellet grills like the Traeger grill work particularly well for smoking pheasants. It’s important to use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the pheasant reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the safe minimum internal temperature for cooking wild game birds.

Making the Glaze

While your pheasant is smoking, it’s the perfect time to prepare your glaze. A combination of maple syrup, brown sugar, and a bit of barbecue sauce creates a rich sauce that perfectly complements the smoky flavor of the pheasant. Bringing these ingredients to a boil in a small sauce pan and then reducing the heat to a simmer allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.

A sauce pan with maple syrup, brown sugar, and barbecue sauce simmering to make the glaze.

Glazing the Pheasant

Once your pheasant has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s time to start glazing. Brushing the glaze onto the bird every 15 minutes during the last hour of smoking gives the pheasant a deliciously sticky and sweet exterior. The glaze also helps to keep the pheasant moist during the final stages of smoking, ensuring a juicy and flavorful bird.

A glazed pheasant on a grill grate during the final stages of smoking.

Resting and Serving the Pheasant

Once your pheasant is done smoking, it’s critical to let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the bird, ensuring a moist and flavorful bite every time. When serving, consider pairing your smoked pheasant with complementary side dishes like wild rice or smoked baked potatoes for a complete meal that’s sure to impress.

A smoked pheasant resting on a wooden cutting board next to a dish of wild rice and smoked baked potatoes.

Enjoy Your Smoked Pheasant Recipe

With a bit of preparation and patience, you can create a smoked pheasant recipe that’s sure to impress your dinner guests. The combination of the tender, smoky pheasant meat and the sweet, sticky glaze creates a perfect balance of flavors that’s truly unique. So whether you’re a seasoned hunter or trying your hand at smoking pheasant for the first time, this recipe is a fantastic way to enjoy this popular wild game bird.

A beautifully presented plate of smoked pheasant with a side of wild rice and smoked baked potatoes.

Hickory-Smoked Pheasant Delight Recipe

Hickory-Smoked Pheasant Delight Recipe

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes

This recipe for Hickory-Smoked Pheasant Delight is a perfect meal for those who love a smoky, succulent bird with a hint of herbaceous flavor. It is sure to impress your guests during a weekend gathering or a festive dinner.


  • 1 whole pheasant (about 3-4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4-5 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Hickory wood chips for smoking


  1. Preheat your smoker to 225°F and prepare it with hickory wood chips.
  2. Clean the pheasant under cold water, removing any leftover feathers or innards.
  3. Rub the exterior of the pheasant with olive oil.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the sea salt, black pepper, dried thyme, and dried rosemary.
  5. Stuff the cavity of the bird with the quartered onion, minced garlic, and sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary.
  6. Once the smoker is ready, place the pheasant on the grill grate, breast side up.
  7. Check the internal temperature in the thickest part of the bird. It should read 165°F when fully cooked.
  8. Once the pheasant reaches the correct internal temperature, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes.
  9. Carve the pheasant and serve it hot.


Remember, every smoker is different and the cooking time may vary. Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 800Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 265mgSodium: 1850mgCarbohydrates: 5gNet Carbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 85g

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