Bacon wrapped smoked Chuckers / Chukars - QVIEW

Discussion in 'Wild Game' started by ragnar, Mar 27, 2016.

  1. ragnar

    ragnar Smoke Blower

    For anyone unfamiliar, Chukars are upland game birds in the pheasant family, and about half the size of a pheasant, or about the size of a Cornish hen.

    My father-in-law spent an afternoon at a local pheasant ranch that he's somehow tied in with collecting and cleaning birds during some bird dog trials. Since the point of the day is to run and test the dogs, there are a lot of birds - he was guessing around 100. Most of the guys don't care about the birds, so, rather than just let them go to waste, he and a buddy of his goes and breasts them out (thighs too). He called, asking if I'd like to try to smoke some.

    "Uh... that's a STUPID question! Of course! I've never even HEARD of those before!"

    We laughed, and I wound up with a gallon bucket of boneless, skinless breasts. He's got twice that left, plus a big bucket of thighs.

    At any rate, I thought having a few as an appetizer course for Easter dinner would be a good idea. Here's how this deal went...

    Brine 12 breasts for 6 hours in:
    • 1/2 gallon water
    • 1/4 cup kosher salt
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/8 cup white vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp allspice
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    Rinsed, and refrigerated overnight. Rinsed again.

    Wrapped in hickory smoked bacon.

    The smoke went as follows:

    0:00 into a pre-heated smoker at 130F. 

    0:20 start applying applewood smoke

    2:00 raise temp to 150F

    2:15 raise temp to 170F

    2:30 raise temp to 225F, apply a light coat of BBQ sauce

    Pull at IT of 165F (just under 4 hours)

    Here's the finished photo:


    They stayed nice and moist. Looking forward to tasting these at dinner in an hour or two.
    smokinadam, worktogthr, disco and 4 others like this.
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks tasty! Nice smoke!

  3. smokinadam

    smokinadam Smoking Fanatic

    Look very tasty! Points!
  4. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks great!:drool
  5. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice looking Chucks Ragnar! b
  6. ragnar

    ragnar Smoke Blower

    Really appreciate the comments and the points, guys!

    These were really pretty good. Next batch, I'll just stick with hickory for the wood, but the brine was right on. The breasts stayed nice and moist, without any noticeable saltiness, and the allspice was a happy thing.

    Dinner all around was pretty awesome.
  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Great looking birds!

    Good idea wrapping in bacon!

  8. ragnar

    ragnar Smoke Blower

    Thanks, Al!

    Wrapping them in bacon worked two ways - first, it added a nice flavor to the palate. Second, and probably more importantly, it replaced the skin that was removed by breasting the birds out, which helped keep them moist, along with brining. They would have been jerky otherwise.

    Looking forward to more upland birds in the future. According to my father-in-law, next time should be pheasant. I *FREAKING LOVE* pheasant. We'll do something similar then, and hoping he has a huge bounty like he did this time around.
    canuck38 likes this.
  9. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Very nice - and looks very tasty

    A full smoker is a happy smoker 

  10. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    You're spoiled that he brought them already dressed out! Sounds like a nice father in law to have..
  11. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Man, those look great!  I wish I had more access to game meats.  Points for a great cook on your first try!
  12. [​IMG]Great Job!

    I Love My Feathered Friends.....we have to go to eastern Oregon to Find them[​IMG]

    Keep On Smokin,

    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
  13. I love game birds on the grill.  Last time I got some chukars, I BBQ them.  Did the brine routine but with plucked birds.  Basted them a couple of times and they turned out great.  I nice bottle of Rioja went well with them, too.

  14. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I love this site. Always something new.

    These look great, Ragnar!


  15. ragnar

    ragnar Smoke Blower

    Thanks, DS! Definitely worthwhile.
    True, but I gave them back smoked! It's a good deal all around. He's a good dude - just this past couple of years, we've gotten to be pretty decent friends. Though I'm in no way wishing for a fast summer, I am looking forward to the venison rolling in. He hunts, and when he's not hunting, he fishes. On the off chance he's not doing either, he's preparing. We'll be some sausage-making fools come fall/winter.
    I am lucky. All the time, it's Venison, Elk, Turkey, Walleye, Trout... and we've finally come to where we have something significant in common (other than his daughter). Great tradition starting with most every Sunday getting together for something really tasty.
    Thanks a ton! Happy hunting, Tom!
    Sounds great! The birds in that photo look exceptionally good!
    Yeah, man! This site is FULL of good info. I've been finding advice, success/failure stories, and plenty of recipes. Pretty cool stuff, pretty cool community.

    Thanks for the points, Disco! Looking forward to your next adventure!
  16. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    RG, They look delicious !!!!
  17. darwin101

    darwin101 Meat Mopper

    Great looking breast, you did great job with those.  [​IMG]   

    Those barred feathers on the birds side would be a great present if you have a fly tying friend!  
  18. carpfisher

    carpfisher Newbie

    My chukars from the New Year's Eve hunt.  Apple Juice brines, Dry rub, smoking away!
  19. myownidaho

    myownidaho Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Damn. The only thing I like better than Chukar is grouse. Points!

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