Over the years I have gone from expecting it to be dry to expecting it to be beautifully moist, moving from using streaky bacon to an oven bag. This makes a world of difference, and I have not had a dry rooster in years.
The toughness is dealt with by letting birds settle. Even the oldest bird with the biggest spurs and the darkest flesh comes out beautifully tender. Leave the bird in the fridge for two weeks before processing and it will be superb.
- Pheasant aged for at least two weeks.
- Stuffing made from coarse bread crumbs (I use Vogels), whatever herbs are available and orange juice.
- Oven Bag with at a cup of pith free orange juice.
Cook for at least 45 minutes at 180 degrees, and let settle for 10 minutes before carving.
I usually serve pheasant with roast vegetables, peas and gravy. I use orange juice because a good friend gave me a recipe with orange juice, but other juices will do just as well.
One pheasant usually has enough breast meat for two people, and I like pheasant soup so I usually do not eat the roast legs. The legs are fine to eat, especially if they have the tendons pulled from them when dressing them down.
Save the carcass for soup.