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Spicy Maple-Glazed Canadian Gamebird

Monday, 26 May 2008


This is a variation of a recipe Mike Kerslake developed to use for chicken. Here, he uses pheasant. But any game bird, chicken or a small turkey would work as well. The brine helps keep the meat from drying out when cooking. In the glaze, Kerslake used morita chiles, which are red chipotles that are smoked less that the typical dark brown variety. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.

This recipe and others can be found in the following article:

The Heat of Competition: The Jack Daniels' Championship



At a glance
Cooking Method
Heat Level
De Arbol
Main Course

For the Brine:

  • 1 cup coarse/pickling salt

  • 1/2 cup coarse-chopped onion

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns

  • 5 or 6 hot peppers, each cut in half, variety of choice (de arbols suggested)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 pheasant

  • Mild, low-salt or salt-free poultry rub, optional

  • Aromatics: Herbs, onions, garlic, apples and/or fresh or dried peppers, optional

  • Apple juice or apple cider

For the Glaze:

  • 1 cup maple syrup

  • 1 tablespoon (about 3 pods) of ground dried red chile




For the Brine:

Combine all the brine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil for 5 to10 minutes. Cool the mixture in the refrigerator.
When the brine is cooled to 40 degrees or below, add the pheasant, placing a plate on the top to keep the bird submerged. Allow to brine for 10 to12 hours.

After brining, rinse the bird, pat dry, then place it on a rack over a drip pan in the refrigerator to air-chill for about 3 to 4 hours. Rub with the poultry rub and place the aromatics in the bird’s cavity, if desired.

For the Bird:

Preheat the barbecue to 250 to 275 degrees and set up for indirect cooking (place firebricks on the cooking grid, then position the drip pan and rack with bird, on top of the bricks). Add a small piece of smoking wood if you wish. Suggested: use a 3" by 3" piece of pecan. Remember that poultry absorbs smoke like a sponge, so use it sparingly.) Add some apple juice or apple cider to the drip pan if you wish.

Cook for about 1 and a half hours or until breast meat registers 155 degrees Use a spray bottle to spritz apple juice onto the bird every 20 to 30 minutes. At this point, begin to glaze the bird with the warmed-up glaze. Baste once or twice until the breast temperature reads 165 degrees. Remove the bird from the barbecue and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Carve the bird and drizzle the remaining glazes over the slices.




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