Brining your Quail, Chukar, and Pheasant (2024)

Brining your Quail, Chukar, and Pheasant

2014-08-20 00:27:34


  1. Quail
  2. Saltwater


  1. Quail and other game birds, like more popular poultry, is prone to becoming tough and dry if you overcook it. And, because quail is smaller than chicken, it's easier to overcook. Brining -- the process of soaking meat in a saltwater solution -- provides a good deal of protection against the undesirable effects of overcooking. Also, like marinating, brining gives you an opportunity to impart extra flavor into the meat. A proper brine should help you turn out juicy, delicious quail, no matter how you're cooking it.
  2. Salt to water ratio opinions can vary widely, but a good rule of averages and one that is easy to remember is one cup of salt to one gallon of water. Other things can be added to the brine. If you would like a sweeter brine you can add a half cup of sugar to a gallon of liquid/water. You can also add any herbs or spices to help flavor your Texas upland birds.

A few brining tips

  1. If you are using anything other than salt, bring your brine to a quick boil for one minute to let the herbs and spices marry with the water. Before putting your meat into the brine make sure the water has returned to at least room temperature. A return to room temperature is quicker if you only boil half a gallon with your additives, then add the remaining half using ice water.
  2. Adding coriander and peppercorns are a good option for all upland game.
  3. You can experiment with other liquids besides water. Start with trying 4 cups water, 6 cups whole milk, and 6 cups apple juice to make your one gallon of brine.
  4. Many people will tell you to brine overnight (12 hours or so). Since quail is a smaller bird brining as little as thirty minutes can make a difference and often overnight will leave your birds too salty for many tastes. If you have the time try brining you upland game for 1-2 hours.
  5. After you are done brining it is always good to let you birds “rest” for half an hour before cooking to let the solution even out throughout the meat.

By Prairie's End Hunt Club

The Prairie's End Hunt Club

Brining your Quail, Chukar, and Pheasant (2024)


Does pheasant need to be brined? ›

"Brining really is the way to go with pheasant, to keep it moist and also to "cut" some of that rich gaminess.

How long can you brine quail? ›

If the quail meat was fresh or previously defrosted in the refrigerator, then place the quail in the brine and put in the refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours (longer may make the meat overly salty).

How long do you soak pheasant in salt water? ›

Completely submerge one pheasant in brine and soak overnight, approximately 12 to 14 hours.

How long does it take to brine a bird? ›

I find overnight is an ideal amount of time to brine a bird, but I would shoot for at least 4 hours and no more than 12. You should also not use any kind of reactive metal container to hold the brine, stainless steel is ok, but to be safe, I just always use plastic or ceramic.

Should you rinse a bird after brining? ›

Do You Rinse a Turkey After Brining? You should always rinse the turkey after wet or dry brining. Once rinsed, you can let the turkey air dry, uncovered, in the refrigerator for several hours, or pat it dry with a paper towel.

What happens if you don't boil your brine? ›

Tip: There is no need to boil all the brine liquid because you can fully dissolve the salt and sugar and extract the flavor out of any seasonings in 1½ cups of liquid.

What happens if you leave meat in brine too long? ›

Most over-brining simply makes everything a little too salty, and you can soak the meat in cold water to draw out the excess salt. If you really let it go too long—as in, brining for days instead of hours—things may go beyond repair. Doing so can make your meat mushy, and there's no way to fix that!

What is the ideal brine time? ›

Brining Times: Pork chops, chicken breasts, or meats about one inch thick: 45 minutes to 4 hours. Fish: Its structure is delicate so brine no more than 1 1/2 hours. Whole chicken and Cornish hens: 4 to 8 hours, depending on size.

How long can brine sit? ›

Place the container in the refrigerator for the period of time specified in the recipe. The amount of time will depend on the type of brine you use; however, do not brine any longer than two days and always keep the turkey and brine refrigerated (at 40°F or less).

How to tenderize chukar? ›

Using low-and-slow cooking methods, the collagen will eventually break down and turn to gelatin, which allows the meat to tenderize and increases the moisture. The final internal temperature at this point is likely between 180 and 190 degrees.

What to soak quail in? ›

Soak quail in buttermilk in refrigerator for at least six hours or overnight. When ready to cook, drain quail, rinse thoroughly with water, and pat dry with paper towels.

Is 2 hours long enough to brine? ›

How long to brine your chicken depends on what kind of chicken you're using. For skinless breasts, brine for two hours. For bone-in pieces, brine for four hours. For whole chickens, brine for at least four hours or up to overnight.

What is the best salt brine ratio? ›

Tips & Techniques > Salt Ratios for Brining
  • Standard Brine: 2 tablespoons table salt per liter or quart of water/liquid.
  • Moderate Brine: 3 tablespoons table salt per liter or quart of water/liquid.
  • Strong Brine: 4 to 5 tablespoons table salt per liter or quart of water/liquid.

How deep does brine penetrate? ›

Another revelation: Brines penetrate during low temp cooking

He took a pork loin and submerged it in a concentrated brine, colored it with a dye, and refrigerated it for an hour. As you can see, the brine penetrated only 2 mm, a bit more than 1/16". It didn't pull the larger dye molecules past the surface.

Should you brine pheasant before freezing? ›

Brining wild proteins in salt water for a few hours is a great way to remove residual blood from any crevices or potential holes left behind from pellets. Before freezing, make an effort to thoroughly remove any feathers or hairs and rinse. If brined, make certain to thoroughly rinse off brine before freezing.

How do you brine game birds? ›

For wet brine, add sugar and salt to water. Stir until dissolved. Add peeled, smashed garlic cloves and smashed ginger, along with peppercorns. Completely submerge birds in brine and soak overnight, approximately 12 to 14 hours.

What is the best way to prepare a pheasant? ›

Place into a close-fitting roasting pan. Pour herb oil over pheasant. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, then cover with aluminum foil and continue baking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone, reads 180 degrees F (82 degrees C), about 1 hour more.

How do you tenderize pheasant meat? ›

Marinating is an easy way to tenderize, add moisture, and enhance the flavor of wild game meat. Acids, such as vinegar, wine, citrus, and yogurt help break down muscles and connective tissue.

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