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.