The best way to cook pheasant breasts will leave them succulent and delicious. Nobody wants a disappointing dry old breast.

The best way to cook pheasant breasts sometimes appears to be a closely guarded secret. It isn’t, one just requires the little know-how below. So whether you use this advice to improve upon the top 10 best pheasant recipes or want to try reviving a dry bird – Roast grouse recipe this method produces top notch results.

The one complaint about substituting pheasant for chicken in a recipe is that it can dry out. But cook it correctly, and that will never be a problem.

We have all eaten pheasant breasts that are dry, tough, stringy and vaguely disappointing. This is because, unlike chicken (with which we naturally compare pheasant), the pheasant lives a real, free-range life and, especially by the end of the season, has flown a fair bit, thus exercising its flying muscles (the breasts). Thus, the only way to ensure a great result is not to overcook it. To this end we will get a little Heston and cook the breasts in an unusual way.


Serves 4

  • 4 undamaged pheasant breasts (skin on)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • 1 large ziplock cooking bag
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 drinking straw
  • 100g (31⁄2oz) butter (for later)
  • Sea salt (for later)

This is more about the cooking of the meat than the actual recipe, and you can serve it with any sauce you like. Mainly, you will be amazed about the juiciness of the meat and how easy this is, once you get your head around it. Essentially you need to know that meat changes from raw to cooked by about 65°C (149°F), so if the cooking temperature never exceeds that point, and we seal in the moisture, then (a) we cannot overcook it and (b) it will be perfect. Try it.
Marinade the breasts in the oil and pepper and slide them into the bag. Add the sprig of rosemary and lay the bag flat. Zip it almost shut, and poke the straw into one corner. Suck out the air, then zip it completely shut. Pop the bag on a roasting tray and put it in the oven at 65°C (149°F) or a pan of water at the same temperature; use a thermometer. Leave it for an hour (more does not matter – it won’t overcook) then remove. The meat should feel firm with no wobbliness. If there is, put it back in the oven.
When done, remove from the bag and pat dry on kitchen paper. Then heat the butter in a non-stick pan. When the butter foams, pop the breasts in skin-side down, then sprinkle over the salt. Cook for one minute, continually spooning butter over. They are ready when golden.