Smoked Pheasant and Partridge

You know how it is. These things start with a conversation in the pub...

Maurice - "Do you want a brace of pheasants, Phil?..."
Me - "Err, No thanks I've not used the last ones yet..."
It goes on:
Maurice - "That's a pity, I've got 3 brace I don't know what to do with..."
Followed by that fateful line...
Me - "I wonder if we could smoke them?"

...and there you are - into another 'little' project.

Anyway, I found a couple of brines online, and chose to do one posted by JPJ at the forum, omitting the allspice and garlic.

2 hours of brining (2½ for the whole partridge) followed by a couple of hours or so smoking, at between 70°C and 80°C, to cook the meat, was all that was needed. The meat was then refrigerated overnight to allow the smoky flavour to fully penetrate the meat.

Smoke Pheasant and Partridge

Some of the finished smoked game; at the back, partridge crowns and whole birds, at the front, pheasant breast.

The brine:
4L pre-boiled water
400g salt
400g sugar (I used ¼ Dark Brown Sugar)
40g cure 1
4 crushed bay leaves
4 ground cloves
1 tsp each of cracked pepper and minced juniper berries

I thought the outside of the meat was very tough, but everyone else seemed not to bother. The taste was superb. Next time I'll lightly oil the meat, or better still, leave the skin on.

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