Whether you’re stressing over the Big Dance or another big-stakes event, take the hassle out of feeding your guests with this Asian-fusion pheasant snack
It’s the time of year when we sports fanatics gather for daylong festivities filled with a healthy amount of couch sitting, beer-drinking, and yelling at the television. Whether it’s the NCAA Tournaments, The Masters, or even the NFL Draft, a lot of us right now are thinking to ourselves, “What am I going to serve to fuel those full days of extracurriculars?”
Because no one was to crash early from lack of eats.
Popcorn chicken was all the rage years ago, and, while this isn’t popcorn pheasant, there are similarities; though the may difference being this presents a kettle-corn (or sweeter) flavor profile.
The coating here is an Asian fusion of ingredients you’ll find in various teriyaki dishes, though this is not a teriyaki sauce. Essentially, it’s my take on kettle corn built with Asian spices and sauces. And, as we all know, Asian culinary influence pairs very well with the ring-necked pheasant, which of course originated in Eastern Asia.
Ring-necked Kettle CornJack Hennessy
- 1 rooster, skinless (or 16 pounds of any upland bird meat)
- Peanut oil
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Asian Kettle Corn Sauce
- 2 cups mirin rice sweet cooking wine
- 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1-2 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp ginger finely minced
- 1 tsp fresh garlic finely minced
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 lemongrass stalk halved
- 1 lemon juiced
- Debone rooster and cut all meat into small cubes (approximately 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch). Either brine meat or soak in buttermilk overnight.
- When ready to fry, heat a few inches of peanut oil to 400 degrees F.
- In a separate large skillet, heat a slight amount of peanut oil. Add freshly minced garlic and ginger, and stir for a few minutes before adding remaining sauce ingredients.
- To fry bird meat, first toss them through cornstarch-flour dredge. Dust off any excess, then add to hot oil. Do not crowd frying pot or pan. Remove once golden brown and allow them to rest on an open grate for grease to drain (not a napkin).
- What all birds bits have been fried, add them briefly to sauce simmering in separate skillet, then remove and add to serving dish. Nuggets should still be both crispy and coated in sauce.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
Jack Hennessy grew up in the South Suburbs of Chicago and didn't start hunting until he attended graduate school in Spokane, Washington, at the age of 26. Hennessy began work in professional kitchens in high school but didn't start writing wild game recipes until he joined the Spokesman-Review in 2014. Since then, his recipes have appeared with Petersen's Hunting, Backcountry Journal, Gun Dog Magazine, among many others. He now lives with his wife, daughter, and Wirehaired Vizsla, Dudley, in Wichita, Kansas.