Inspired by a Jamaican food shop in London, Cai ap Bryn lets loose a host of Caribbean flavours to create his own very jerk pheasant dish. Serves two.
I have always cooked some nice Caribbean foods, but jerk chicken, rice and peas is one of my top meals. This got me thinking about a Jamaican jerk pheasant recipe. I love cooking pheasant, so I did a lot of asking, some research and came up with a fantastic jerk pheasant dish that I have now used a few times.
There is one trick that you must do. This is essential. If you were to ask me one of the biggest hacks with cooking game, I’d say this: brine. It’s mega-important and puts moisture into the quarry. It makes a big difference when done right. You can do this recipe a couple of ways, but I have really tried to keep it as authentic as possible, even finishing off the pheasant on the barbecue with some oak for a little kick of smoke. It doesn’t have to be done this way — it can simply be done under a kitchen grill.
So, let’s look at the process, starting with the brine.
Jamaican jerk pheasant recipe
- 1.5l water
- 3 tbsp salt
- 3 tbsp sugar
Dissolve the sugar and salt in a small cup of warm water before adding to the cold water to make the brine. Give it a stir and put in the pheasant. Keep in a cool place or fridge overnight.
- 3 spring onions
- 6 garlic cloves
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 3 tsp Jamaican all-purpose seasoning
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Half a Scotch bonnet pepper (or two standard chillies)
- 60ml walnut oil
- ½ tsp salt method
Place all ingredients in a blender and blitz into a thick marinade. Remove the pheasant from the brine, rinse in clean water and pat dry. Using half of the marinade, rub it all over the pheasant. Score the thighs with a sharp knife to ensure the marinade penetrates into the meat. Place the pheasant in the fridge for about eight hours, to allow the marinade to work.
For the jerk sauce
- Half the marinade
- 2 tsp honey
- 4 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tsp malt vinegar
- 1 Tsp soy sauce
Put half the marinade in a pan and heat for five minutes. Add the honey, ketchup, vinegar and soy sauce. Cook for five minutes. Let it cool.’
Start by spatchcocking the pheasant. Cut down both sides of the backbone until fully removed. Place the bird on the table, breast side up, pull open the pheasant then press down gently on the breast so the bird becomes flat. Place in a baking tray and cover with foil. Roast at 170°C for 20 minutes. Once done, either heat under a medium grill or use a charcoal barbecue to get those authentic flavours. As previously mentioned, I like to use oak in mine to give it a kiss of smoke. Use the jerk sauce to keep basting, layer upon layer, until the skin is nice and crispy, with a nice colour to it. The internal temperature should be about 70°C around the inside of the thighs. It should not be much more than this temperature in order to prevent the bird drying out. Once removed from the grill, cover the meat and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Before serving, use a cleaver or a sharp knife to chop up the pheasant on the bone. This helps to hold in the flavour and moisture. Generously cover the meat with the jerk sauce and serve up with rice and peas, and a couple of cold beers.