I titled this article cooking pheasants but really it will apply to not only pheasants but also turkey and grouse.

If you read my articles then you know that two weeks ago that I was in South Dakota pheasant hunting.

 I didn’t want to use the same ole, same ole cook in a crock pot with mushroom soup recipe so I thought I’d try something different. 

When I boned them out, I pulled the breast and cut off the legs and bagged each separately. 

As a side tip, if you’re flying with meat, you don’t have to use a cooler. I usually wrap the bag of meat in clothes in my luggage and they stay frozen fine. It was no different this time. 

I threw them in my luggage at 2:00 and when I got home at Midnight they were still frozen. In fact, the next afternoon when I pulled them out of the frig to cook, they were still crusty.

Let’s start with the breast. I laid them on a cutting board and used a thick bladed Smith’s knife to slice them into thin strips. 

Cut them cross grain. I then laid them out and sprinkled them with the Hi Mountain Apple Blend Turkey Jerky seasoning. 

I then flipped the slices and seasoned the other side and then put them in a bag and squeezed the air out. 

I like to season my jerky and marinate my meat in a plastic bag. 

That way every few hours I can flip the bag over and gently massage it for a couple of seconds and be ensured that it is getting evenly marinated.

I let it marinade for nearly 24 hours and then pulled it out and slapped it on my jerky air dryer. It dries unevenly due to all of the slices not being cut uniformly as well as the tray on bottom dries faster than the top trays.

 I’ll rotate the trays every hour or two and be watching for any small pieces that are done. As they finish, I pull them off. Once again, I was reminded that Hi Mountain makes the best jerky and sausage seasoning in the world. This batch isn’t going to last long.

Now for the legs. I put them in a bag and poured in a bottle of Tony Chachere’s 30-minute Chicken Marinade. 

I also threw in a dash of Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing and pressed out the air and put in the fridge to season overnight.

 The next day I put them on my Camp Chef pellet grill on high smoke, which is high smoke but low heat. Then I had to run over and pick up an Anderson Mfg. 5.56 that I had ordered. I have some Bowden Tactical after-market parts and a Riton Optics scope that I’m going to trick it out with. I’ll be writing about that soon.

When I got home, I pulled any jerky that was dried and turned up the heat on the smoker to get the legs ready for dinner. By now the legs were a golden brown and looked awesome.

I only cook real potatoes and think instant potatoes are a communist plot but while shopping I had grabbed an instant pack of butter garlic instant potatoes. I cooked them and threw in some chopped onions and a spoonful of chopped garlic.

Kolby had a dozen tomatoes left over from the season that were on the edge. I made some homemade tomato soup which is easy. Cook the quartered tomatoes in a pan. When stewed put in a blender. Throw in a spoonful of chopped garlic and blend for a few seconds. 

Then return to the pan and throw in some chopped onions and chopped cilantro and a couple of cups of half & half or whole milk and stir.

We were now ready to eat like kings and queens. As you know if you’ve ever hunted pheasants, they’re the roadrunners of the game bird world. 

I don’t think that anything you do will keep them from being a little tough but gee, these had a great flavor and were great. We ate some more the next day for lunch after Church.

So, if you have a freezer of game birds you might want to try these methods on them. And yes, you can make jerky out of waterfowl.

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving and takes a minute to give thanks for living in the best country in the world and for your many blessings.

Tom Claycomb is a hunting enthusiast and writes a bi-monthly column for Winnemucca Publishing.