Air fryers are the latest and greatest inventions for cooking food to taste like it was done in a deep fryer with oil. However, there is no oil used in the cooking process. Air fryers are basically compact convection ovens that circulate heat and cook from all directions. They have caught on in popularity, and more than half the homes in North America now have an air fryer.
Bird hunters will know that pheasant is challenging to cook and maintain moisture. The air fryer may be the best tool for cooking whole birds or making pheasant fingers from breast meat. Cooking a whole, plucked pheasant in an air fryer produces a finished bird with crisp skin and moist meat.
• 1 whole pheasant, plucked
• ¼ cup olive oil
• juice from ½ large lemon
• 6 sprigs thyme
• 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
• 4 fresh sage leaves
• 3 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 clove garlic, chopped
• 1-inch fresh ginger, chopped
• ½ tsp seasoning salt (Bearded Butcher Original)
• ½ tsp black pepper
1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a sealable bag and shake to blend. Add the pheasant and toss to coat the bird. Let the pheasant sit for 45 minutes.
2. Spray the air fryer basket with oil (olive oil or similar) and pre-heat to 400°F. Remove the pheasant from the marinade and place it breast down in the air fryer. Cook for 15 minutes, turn the bird breast up, and cook for another 15 minutes.
3. Pheasants can be of different sizes and weights, so check the internal temperature. If it has reached 165°F, it is ready to be removed from the air fryer and rested for five minutes. Bigger birds may require extra cooking time.
4. Juices cooked out of the pheasant will collect in the bottom of the air fryer and can be used to make gravy. Heat the drippings in a separate pot and add one cup of chicken stock blended with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Bring to a rolling simmer for one minute. Add salt to taste.
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