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Bleu Cheese and Bacon Barbecue Pheasant Salad Sandwich

Bleu Cheese and Bacon Barbecue Pheasant Salad Sandwich

Smoked pheasant salad served on a toasted bun

Nothing says summer like BBQ, outdoor dining, and a delicious smoked pheasant salad atop a toasted bun

Every summer during my time working as a line cook at The Elk Public House in Spokane, Washington, we opened up the outdoor patio in Browne’s Addition. With that full patio came a full rail of food tickets, with many spilling out of the printer in what we called a “rat tail.” It was the cold Pacific Northwest beer and likely our rotating weekly special menu that brought in the large crowds. Among one of my favorites was our Barbecue Chicken Salad with crumbled bleu cheese and bacon bits. With this upland game version of that popular summer meal, I went a step further by using smoked pheasant and a few additional ingredients; diced apples and crushed pecans definitely add something special to this salad.

While you don’t have to smoke your pheasant for this recipe, I do recommend it for purposes of flavor. I covered how to maple-smoke pheasant in a past piece, but you can smoke however you prefer as long as the final product has the breast meat at an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit and legs anywhere between 180 F and 190 F.

While this particular recipe calls for pheasant, you can use any white-meat upland bird to make this dish. Got a spring gobbler in the freezer? That breast meat would be perfect here. Do note that smoking wild turkey legs gets a bit trickier compared to smaller birds like pheasants. I typically braise my wild turkey legs and thighs for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, then smoke to add texture. A standard smoke for wild turkey legs will likely take 14 hours before they tenderize, as the smoking method is very similar to beef brisket and also requires wrapping the meat in pink butcher paper once the internal temperature hits 150ish.

In terms of barbecue sauce, I leave it up to you, but I used Bearded Butcher Blend BBQ Sauce. If you have a favorite, roll with that. Just make sure to buy actual bleu cheese crumbles (usually in small tubs), not the creamy dressing. I also recommend thick-cut bacon from your butcher versus that thin, commercially packaged stuff you find in most grocery stores.

One final tip: heating up honey for 10 seconds in the microwave makes it pour far easier versus trying to get it out of the bottle when it’s cold.

Enjoy! Reach out to me on Instagram (@WildGameJack) with any questions or comments and be sure to check out my other wild game recipes and cooking instructions here.

Smoked pheasant salad served on a toasted bun

Bleu Cheese and Bacon Barbecue Pheasant Salad Sandwich

Jack Hennessy
This summer favorite combines the smoky flavor of upland bird meat with rich BBQ sauce and traditional chicken salad fillings
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 7
Calories 1005 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 7 brioche buns toasted
  • lbs smoked pheasant hand-shredded
  • ½ lb thick-cut bacon diced and crisp
  • ¾ cup bleu cheese crumbled
  • ½ Honeycrisp apple finely diced
  • ½ cup pecans crushed
  • ¼ medium yellow onion finely diced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper freshly cracked

Instructions
 

  • Brine pheasant meat (likely 1-1/2 pheasants worth of meat) according to the brine instructions. Brine should take 6-8 hours.
  • For extra flavor, you can smoke according to these instructions.Or you can roast or grill, cooking breasts to 160 internal temperature and legs to 180 or 190. Smoking can take upwards of 2 hours to fully cook the pheasant.
  • Hand-shred pheasant when it’s cool enough to do so and add to large mixing bowl
  • Dice bacon and dust with freshly cracked black pepper. Cook to crisp texture and drain grease. Add bacon bits to large mixing bowl with pheasant.
  • Add remaining ingredients (bleu cheese crumbles, finely diced apple, crushed pecans, finely diced onion, mayo, barbecue sauce, honey, and salt and pepper) to large mixing bowl. Mix ingredients thoroughly.
  • Toast the buns and add 5 ounces of pheasant salad to each bun to serve. Feel free to drizzle extra BBQ sauce over the top.

Nutrition

Calories: 1005kcalCarbohydrates: 61gProtein: 39gFat: 68gSaturated Fat: 23gPolyunsaturated Fat: 18gMonounsaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 252mgSodium: 1825mgPotassium: 573mgFiber: 1gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 951IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 149mgIron: 2mg
Keyword BBQ, Pheasant
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