Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.
Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.
The process begins with the signature brine recipe:
2 quarts water
1c Kosher salt
1/2 c brown sugar
2t seasoned salt
2t pickling spice
Stir everything until dissolved
Add skinned pheasants. Six pheasants calls for six quarts of brine in a food-grade plastic bucket. Cover with a heavy plate to submerge the birds. Snap the lid on the bucket and store in a cool place (basement, garage, fridge) for 24 hours.
Remove birds, rinse and place in the smoker. I use a gas smoker so I'll smoke the birds for about two and a half hours at 250 to 275 degrees over apple wood and a water-filled pan. The wood chips have been soaking in water and are refilled after an hour.
Refrigerate until used otherwise vacuum seal with a FoodSaver and freeze for future use.
This stuff is terrific when served with cheeses, fruit and wine to kick-off a party. It is fantastic when incorporated in pasta or risotto recipes.
For a fast meal - top a Boboli crust with baby mozzarella, smoked pheasant, sliced artichoke, fresh basil and drizzle with olive oil. Bake. Enjoy!
The signature brine can also be used with Great Lakes salmon or trout (either filleted or steaked) substitute shrimp spice if you care.
It's also fun to experiment with different woods like hickory or mesquite.
Since different smokers yield different results - or if you are doing this for the first time - do not experiment with some valuable game bird. Work-out the bugs on some cheaper stuff like chickens.
Note - the small drumstick on a smoked pheasant is particularly tough to bother-with - too many tendons. I debone them and chop the meat into pieces for dog treats - after all - Girlfriend earned it.