Crockpot Pheasant With Balsamic Marinade

Pheasant with onions

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Prep: 3 hrs 15 mins
Cook: 7 hrs
Total: 10 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
315 Calories
14g Fat
9g Carbs
38g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 315
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 101mg 34%
Sodium 5766mg 251%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 38g
Vitamin C 6mg 28%
Calcium 43mg 3%
Iron 2mg 14%
Potassium 464mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

When Americans think of poultry, chicken is by far the first thing that comes to mind, followed by turkey. While pheasants have been available in the United States since the late 18th century, this bird is still considered a rather unusual poultry option along the lines of squab (pigeon), ostrich, and quail. In order to be considered poultry, an item must not only be a bird species, but it has to be domesticated or farmed. Wild game is not considered poultry unless it is the domesticated variety.

Cooked pheasant tastes vastly different depending on whether it was farm-raised or was hunted in the wild. Farm-raised pheasant is said to taste like chicken, only richer, while wild pheasant typically has a stronger and gamier flavor. Unless you have hunted it yourself, in all likelihood, the pheasant you get in the store or from a local butcher is the farm-raised variety. To cut any lingering gamey flavor, you might consider soaking the pheasant in salted water (as detailed in this recipe), as it cuts any gaminess, and cook the bird in a marinade to help keep it moist.

Although originally from Asia, pheasants are now found across the globe due to their readiness to breed in captivity and since the bird can naturalize in many climates. It has been known to be a popular game bird since the time of the Stone Age humans.


  • 1 pheasant

  • 1/4 cup salt

  • 1/2 cup water, or chicken broth

  • Barbecue sauce, optional

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic, optional

  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke

  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Rinse the pheasant.

  3. Place the pheasant in a large bowl with salt and cover with water.

  4. Let the bird soak for 1 hour, then drain and rinse.

  5. Combine the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, garlic (if you are using it), liquid smoke, Tabasco sauce, vinegar, and onion powder.

  6. Put the pheasant and the marinade in large, nonreactive container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Stir the marinade occasionally to keep pheasant coated.

  7. Discard the marinade and transfer the pheasant to a slow cooker.

  8. Add 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth.

  9. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours.

  10. About 30 minutes before the pheasant is done, coat it with barbecue sauce, if desired.

  11. Enjoy.


  • Best Side Dishes: Since pheasant is really a variation on chicken or turkey as far as flavor goes, the sides that go best with chicken or turkey also go well with pheasant. Mashed potatoes, white rice with sautéed mushrooms and onions, rice pilaf, barley, or roasted russet potatoes all make great side dishes. Steamed fresh broccoli, corn or steamed fresh green beans tossed ​in olive oil and seasoned with garlic and Parmesan are compatible vegetable choices.
  • Bread Selection: Buttered French bread is always a good addition to a poultry entrée.
  • Suitable Wine Pairings: Pair roasted pheasant with a dry white wine like chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, or pinot grigio. If you feel a bit adventuresome, try Spanish Albarino or Italian Orvieto.