By Montana Grant

Posted: October 23, 2022

Pheasant season is going on full bore. Lots of pictures are being posted of successful pheasant hunts. Guys hunting game farms are filling coolers with these amazing upland birds. It is best to enjoy these tasty treats fresh. Frozen birds lack flavor and tend to be tougher over time. If you have this issue, time to make soup.

Cooking pheasants is another challenge. These wild birds tend to be dry and chewier than chickens. Many recipes seem to overcook these birds. Other recipes drown the roosters in a sauce. Because of this. Pheasant end up in soups, stews, and freezers. Here are a few ways to enjoy your cockbird harvest now.


If you have ever had a Beer Can Chicken, you know how easy and delicious a beer can technique is. You can do this recipe in the oven, but it is way better on the grill. Since Pheasant are smaller than chickens, you need a smaller can. Red Bull cans, or similar sized cans, work perfectly. You can still use the same can holder, but it will be a bit tight. Make sure that the top of the can has openings. You may need to use a church key to add a few more.

For spices I prefer a poultry blend or Traeger spice. You can add the spice ahead of time and allow the birds to get coated and marinate in a zip bag. You can also toothpick strips of bacon across the birds to keep them moist and add flavor.

Usually, I cook at least 2 birds at a time, which means you need 2 cans. You can literally fit several more birds at the same time and serve a bird per person. Cooking a six pack is easy. Fill the cans halfway with beer. That means that you have some extra beer for the chef. Use olive oil to coat the birds. Infused olive oils can add flavor. Maybe try a bacon, butter, or garlic infused oil. You can simply salt and pepper your bird and add some thyme as the rub or use a premade Beer Can Chicken spice mix. The Traeger Grill spices work great.

The beer and birds should be room temperature. If you are using charcoal, set up the grill for indirect heat. Smaller pheasants will sit easily on the can. The legs and can act like a tripod. A rotisserie is also a great way to evenly cook the bird.

Once the grill is loaded, cover and grill for 40 minutes. This is less time than a chicken, which is normally 90 minutes, but the pheasants are half the size. When I use a smoker grill, set the temperature at 350 degrees.

To test for doneness, stick a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. You want a temperature reading of 160 degrees. If the birds are not done, cook for another 15 minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, use a knife to poke a hole between the leg and breast. You want to see a clear liquid draining, not pink or red.

Rest the birds 10 minutes before serving.


Montana Grant

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