The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Pheasant burger recipe: by the author of the River Cottage game cookery book

Don’t waste your money on cheap junk food — this nutritious and tasty pheasant burger can be made for half the cost, reveals Tim Maddams. Serves four.

Pheasant burger

Pheasant Burger

I’m not preparing a foodie delicacy, just an easy fried pheasant burger. I used cheap burger buns and crispy little gems from a bargain supermarket, along with its own-brand mayonnaise and spicy sriracha sauce. It even sells a bargain version of the crispy panko-style breadcrumbs I used.

This pheasant burger recipe is so simple that anyone could make it. I use the breast and boneless thighs, and save the drumsticks, heart and liver for another occasion. (You’ll find our recipe for venison burgers here.)

Pheasant burger recipe


  • 1 large cock pheasant, or two hens (breast and boneless thighs — the drumsticks, liver and heart can be saved for another occasion)
  • 50g panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg and 50ml water, beaten together
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil for shallow frying
  • 4 burger buns
  • 4 tsp mayonnaise
  • 4 dsp Sriracha sauce
  • 12 little gem lettuce leaves


  1. Season the pheasant meat. I tend to slice the breasts in half to make two thinner fillets so they cook faster and everyone can get a bit of breast as well as a bit of thigh. Dip them in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs and set them aside.
  2. Set a large frying pan to heat with 1cm deep of light cooking oil (or lard/dripping) until it gets hot but is not smoking. For those of you with thermometers, aim for about 185°C.
  3. Fry the pheasant for about two minutes on each side until crispy. Then place the cooked meat on some kitchen towel to soak up any excess oil. Allow the oil in the pan to cool before decanting it through a sieve into a jar to use again later.
  4. Assemble the burgers. Add the mayonnaise, sriracha sauce and a few little gem leaves over the crispy fried pheasant.

A word on pheasant burgers

As surely everyone who shoots pheasants must know, a brace is often available in the feather for the cost of simply asking. It takes minutes to prepare the bird into a top-quality source of protein and it’s very tasty without being too strong for even the most mild of palates. Factor in the soaring cost of living and surely we find ourselves with a perfect solution; pheasant presents an opportunity not a problem.

You might get ‘pheasant fatigue’ by the end of the season, or as you eat into the frozen bounty of your shooting efforts. But can you really get bored with eating pheasant? We need a national survey. Certainly, there is evidence that many people never tire of eating chicken.

There are more than two million chickens consumed in the UK every day, according to a quick internet search, and I would bet that around 250,000 of those are consumed in the ‘fried-chicken-fillet-in- a-bun’ format. The average price of which is around £1.50.

I have worked out that if I use a home-shot pheasant I could produce a similar sandwich for half the cost. Added to that is the saving on fuel and the fact you are not using low-welfare chickens. You are not only eating better meat but also enjoying it more, as well as saving money on your annual junk food bill.