Although wild pheasant benefits from brining to keep it moist and reduce the gamey flavor, farm-raised pheasant has a milder taste with a hint of apple. Smoking with apple wood accents the apple highlights of the pheasant. Barding the breasts will keep them moist during cooking. This recipe requires advanced preparation.

  • 1 whole pheasant, about 2 1/4-pounds
  • 3 cups apple wood chips, soaked in warm water for 1 hour
    4 strips apple wood smoked bacon, cut in half
  • 8 ounces uncooked fettuccini
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

For the rub:

  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons granulated onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Butterfly the pheasant reserving the backbone and giblets for stock, if desired. Cut off the wing tips and discard.

Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle over both sides of the pheasant. Cover with food film and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. Remove the pheasant from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

About 45 minutes before cooking, fill Grill Dome firebox 3/4 full with lump charcoal and ignite with pieces of a Super Cedar fire starter or electric charcoal lighter. When the temperature stabilizes at 225 to 250 degrees F., add 1 1/2 cups of the drained apple wood chips to the coals and place the pheasant on the cooking grate, skin side up, and lay the bacon strips atop the breasts.

Smoke the pheasant for about 2 to 3 hours or to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. adding more drained wood chips and preheated coals as needed. Transfer the smoked pheasant to a cutting board and tent with aluminum foil while preparing the pasta.

Cook the fettuccini according to package directions and drain. Return to the stockpot and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir and cook until the better melts.

While the pasta is cooking, remove the breasts and slice; remove the leg and thigh sections and divide into 2 pieces.

Divide the fettuccini onto 2 warmed serving platter and arrange the pheasant atop the pasta; pour the Mushroom Cream Sauce on top. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Mushroom Cream Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 pound wild mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 2/3 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the butter and oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When bubbling, add the shallots and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and saute until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the brandy and boil for 2 to 3 minutes to cook off the alcohol. (If using a gas range, remove the pan from the stove top before adding the brandy.) Add the half-and-half and stock. Reduce heat and cook until reduced to a thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

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