By Danielle Prewett
Flavorful crispy skin, tender-juicy meat and a citrus-garlic Mojo sauce make this one of the best grilled pheasant recipes ever.
This grilled, spatchcocked pheasant is probably one of the more satisfying meals you can make with one of your birds. The crispy skin is full of flavor from a homemade dry rub, the meat is tender and juicy, and the citrus-garlic Mojo sauce is delicious.
Spatchcocked (butterflied) is an easy way to break down a whole bird that you want to gril quickly and evenly. Cut along each side of the back bone, remove the spine, and flatten the bird open.
Serve Mojo Pheasant with any of your favorite side veggies. A fresh salad with roasted sweet potatoes, chopped Mango and sliced avocado is perfect. Note that the Mojo sauce is particularly good as a salad dressing!
(Serves 4; Makes 2 Cups of Mojo Sauce)
• 2 Whole Pheasants, plucked with skin on
• Duck Fat or Oil For Grilling
• 4 Skewers (2 for each bird)
• 1 T. Salt
• 1 t. Black Pepper
• 2 t. Dried Oregano
• 1 t. Cumin
• 1 t. Red Pepper Flakes
• 1 t. Onion Powder
• 1 t. Garlic Powder
• 1 Lime, Zested on a microplane
• ½ C. Fresh Orange Juice
• ¼ C. Fresh Lime Juice
• 1 C. Olive Oil
• 8 Cloves of Garlic, smashed
• 1 C. Fresh Cilantro
• 1 Jalapeno, roughly chopped (with or without seeds)
• Salt + Pepper to Taste
Prepare Dry Rub
1. Make the dry rub by mixing the above listed ingredients in a bowl. The spice mix should be plenty for two whole birds. Save the leftover rub for seasoning side veggies, potatoes, etc.
1. Using heavy duty scissors, cut along each side of the spine and remove. Roll the legs out front and flip the bird over so that it faces up. Press down firmly with your hands on the breast plate to it flatten out some.
2. Pat the pheasant as dry as you can with paper towels. Season generously with the dry rub. If you kept the skin on, be sure to rub the spice mix under the skin so it covers the meat, being careful not to tear it.
3. For optimal results, set your birds skin side up on a sheet pan or a container uncovered so that it gets plenty of airflow. Let the pheasants rest and dry out for several hours or overnight in the fridge if possible. The drier the skin is, the crispier it will be once grilled.
1. Prepare the Mojo sauce by combining all of the above listed ingredients in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth and store in the fridge until ready to use.
1. Remove the pheasant from the fridge about an hour before grilling and let it come to room temperature. Rub the birds down with about 2 t. of fat/oil per bird. Use 2 skewers per bird to help stabilize it by piercing through the top of the breast, and crossing over through the thigh meat (on both sides).
2. Heat the grill over medium high heat. Grill the pheasant skin side down for about 5 minutes or until the skin begins to char. Flip the Pheasant and then move it to the side of the grill over indirect heat. Turn the burners down to low, close the lid and let it continue to cook for an additional 25- 30 minutes or until the thigh meat registers to 165 degrees.
3. Remove the pheasant from the grill and serve with the Mojo sauce.
You can also use a skinless pheasant for this recipe and use the Mojo Sauce as a marinade instead of the dry rub. Visit wildandwhole.com for a more detailed guide to this recipe, including how-to photos.
Danielle Prewett is the author of the North Dakota based food blog, Wild + Whole, where the goal is to share healthy recipes for wild game and inspire others to live off the land.