Smoked Pheasant Recipe - MacFarlane Pheasants

Smoked Pheasant

"Pheasant meat is often associated with the delicious and rustic scent of smoke. Hunters first began smoking this bird as far back as thecave men era in order to preserve the meat and enhance flavor. This process still maintains its popularity to this day; however, nowadays the primary reason for smoking is flavor.

Some would say the ability to smoke a bird is an art form.It creates a certain level of expertise in not only the process itself, but of various meats as well. The total fat content and protein levels must be taken into consideration, as well as temperatures and timelines. 

Pheasant can be a difficult bird to smoke. Skipping the brining process or smoking the meat for too long can make it easy to end up with a bird that is too salty or too dry. Follow these instructions to prep a bird that is moist and tasty. 

Bird meat, especially wild, is naturally a tough meat. The smoking process, if done incorrectly, can make the meat even more tough. This is why brining your bird first is an important part of the process. 

Brining is a process which will help keep your pheasant meat tender and moist. You start by soaking the bird in salt water. While soaking, the meat will absorb the salt water. This will help the birdt hold more moisture as it is smoked and will also add extra seasoning to the meat. It is usually best to brine you bird for 8-12 hours. 

Smoked Pheasant

Prep TIme: 12 hours

Cook Time: 5 hours

Serves: 5-6 servings


  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 4 cups of water (or enough to submerge your pheasant)
  • 2 whole pheasants
  • 2 cups of maple syrup (boiled down)


  1. Dissolve salt and brown sugar in water. 
  2. Place pheasants in a large container and cover them with mixture. Add additional water if necessary to completely submerge the pheasants.
  3. Place container in fridge and let sit for about twelve hours or overnight. This begins the brining process and the pheasant meat will start to absorb the mixture.
  4. Remove pheasants and pat dry. Leave out, on a cooling rack to dry for at least one hour.
  5. Heat your smoker to 200°F. Smoke over the wood of your liking. Hickory or apple usually provide the best flavor. 
  6. Place pheasants in smoker. 
  7. Boil down maple syrup.
  8. After 1 hour, baste the pheasants with maple syrup. 
  9. Continue to baste pheasant with syrup every half hour until pheasant reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.  
  10. Remove from smoker.
  11. You can either eat the pheasant meat warm or wait for it to cool and slice the meat for sandwiches.

Other recipes to try:

Bacon wrapped pheasant

Roasted pheasant

Quail recipes

Download my Pheasant Cookbook