This will be the best roast Chukar you’ve ever had.
Hunters who chase them know that a brace of chukar is earned, not bought. The canyon country they inhabit does not reward laziness, and generally, neither does the kitchen. But that doesn’t mean every aspect of preparing the perfect roast chukar has to be as arduous as procuring them.
Take the time to pluck and brine your birds to really maximize the reward to your efforts. Chukar are gifted in their ability to tack on mass. In an environment where a talented woodsman might quickly starve, Chukar meat can get downright plump. Their fat is rich and flavorful and should not be left to waste, which dictates that we pluck them every chance we get.
If plucking these birds is the first step in elevating your game, brining is the second. It is standard practice for me to brine all light-meat fowl, as it is for most poultry products one would find in a store. Exposure to salt and a little bit of sugar in solution will tip the scales towards tender, juicy, succulent meat every time.
Perfectly Roasted Chukar
- 2 whole-plucked chukar (also works with; Hungarian Partridge, Small forest grouse, and even large mountain quail)
- 4 tbsp rich fat; butter, olive oil, or duck fat
- 2-6 cloves garlic
- 4 tbsp rich stock or Glacé di Viande
- ½ Juice of lemon
- 2 tbsp flour
- Rosemary fresh
- Coarse salt & Blackpepper to taste
Roasting the Chukar
- Pat the inside and outside of your plucked and brined Chukar dry. Salt the chest cavity. Allow the birds to chill uncovered in your refrigerator a minimum of two hours or up to 24. Your refrigerator is among the safest and most arid environments in your home. It’s perfect to facilitate the evaporation of excess water from the surface of your bird and improve the efficacy of the maillard reaction responsible for the deep roasty flavor we’re always after. When the skin is tacky and not damp, the bird is sufficiently dry.
- Add a sprig of rosemary or sage and a smashed clove of garlic to the cavity. Place your Chukar in an oven-safe glass or ceramic dish, brush with fat, butter, or a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Place your Chukar in the center of a 515 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes or until the skin is golden-brown all around.
- Remove the birds and allow them to rest 5 minutes before slicing in
- Now, no roast poultry is really complete without a sauce. Combine the drippings with about 4 tbsp rich stock or 2 tablespoons of reduced stock or glacé di viande, 2 tbsp flour, and 2 tbsp lemon juice in a saucepan. Whisk and reduce the mixture by half, and finish by whisking in 2 tbsp of cold butter.
- Serve the bird whole or carved with a generous pour of sauce and the side of your choice; risotto, rice pilaf, or a simple salad.
Based in Oregon, Tristan Henry is an avid hunter, enjoys wild things, protecting wild places, and eating wild food.