Category: Game Birds



Here is what you are going to need:

10 Birds


Large Cooler

4 – 8 lb. bags of Ice

3 lbs. of thin cut bacon


Two bottles of your favorite Beer

Meat Thermometer

Butcher paper to wrap the finished birds




2 Gallons of Unsweetened Apple Juice

2 Cups of Table Salt (without Iodine)  If you use Kosher Salt, add a Third Cup.

1Cup of Brown Sugar

1 Tablespoon of ground Black Pepper


Put a gallon of the apple juice in a pot and bring it to a boil.  Add in the salt, brown sugar and pepper and stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved.   Remove from the heat, add in the second gallon of apple juice and cool the brine in the refrigerator until it gets cold – about 40 degrees.    DO NOT put the bird in the brine until the brine is cold –


Brining the birds:

Once the brine is cold, it’s time to put the birds in the brine.

In a large heavy duty plastic garbage bag, place the birds in the bag.   Make sure there are no sharp bones protruding that will puncture the bag!

Place the birds in the bag and pour the brine in the bag on the birds, remove as much air as possible from the bag, and seal tightly

Place two bags of ice on the bottom of the cooler.  Then set the bag of birds on the bag of ice.  Next set the second two bags of ice on top of the bag of birds.   You want the birds sandwiched between the ice so that the liquid brine stays cold.  We do NOT want the melted ice to come in contact with the birds as this will dilute your brine.

Close the cover of the cooler and let it set for 12 hours –  you need to keep the brine cold and the bags of ice under and over the bag of birds does  the trick.


At about the 11th hour of the brining process,  light your smoker and get the temperature to a steady 250 degrees


Remove the birds after the 12 hours in the brine, rinse them under cold tap water,  and let them dry on the counter while you prepare for the rest of the recipe





Lightly sprinkle each bird with the  DRY bbq seasoning all over the bird and inside the breast cavity.

Wrap each bird with enough thin cut bacon so that the entire bird is covered – usually 5-6 slices – this will keep the bird from drying on the surface during smoking process

Lightly sprinkle the DRY bbq seasoning all over the outside of the bacon covered bird

REPEAT with each bird until all are wrapped and seasoned.


Place the birds in the 250 degree smoker over indirect heat (not knowing what kind of smoker you will be using, just make sure you don’t have the birds over direct heat)


Shut the lid on the smoker (the temperature will dip in the smoker when you place the birds in it – no worries – it will heat back up)


Open your favorite beer with your buddy that was helping you, toast each other, and enjoy the game for the next 2 ½ hour while the birds are on the smoker! – DON’T peak at the birds as you will let the heat out of the smoker – If you’re lookin, you aint cookin!


After 2 ½ hours on the smoker, pull the biggest bird, and insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast – If your temperature reading is 160 degrees or higher, you are done!  If not, give them another half hour and you should be fine.  Again, not knowing what type of smoker you have, I want to make sure the birds get done).


Remove the birds from the smoker, eat the best looking one,  and let the rest of them cool.   Wrap them in butcher paper and refrigerate the ones you are going to eat/give away in the next couple days, freeze the rest.

Tangerine Thyme Stuffed Quail

Tangerine Thyme Stuffed Quail

Yield: Serves 4


-2 ea. Quail (Cut in half lengthwise)

-4 ea. Tangerine (Cut in half)

-1 ea Stalk Lemongrass

-1 lb. Ginger (Peeled, slice)

-16 ea. Sprigs Thyme

-4 oz Garlic (Mince)

-S & P TT

1.)    Mince the garlic, peel and clean the ginger.

2.)    Slice the ginger in even slices.

3.)    Put in quail the halved tangerines, ginger slices, minced garlic, and 8 ea. Thyme sprigs in the quail.

4.)    Sear the quail on one side and finish in the indirect oven.

5.)    Cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.



-1 ea. Orange (Zest, Juice)

-1 ea. Lemon (Zest, Juice)

-1 ea. Lime (Zest, Juice)

-6 oz. Granulated Sugar

-4 oz. Kosher Salt

-1 qt. Water


1.)    Combine all of the ingredients, until the salt and sugar are dissolved.

2.)    Place the quail in brine for 1 hour.

3.)    Take out of brine and stuff the quail.


Saute Root Vegetable Hash

-1 ea. Rutabaga (Medium Dice)

-1 ea. Turnip (Medium Dice)

-2 ea. Large Carrot (Medium Dice)

-1 ea. Small Butternut Squash (Medium Dice)

-S & P TT

-2 oz. Thyme

-2 oz. Olive oil


1.)    Clean all the root vegetables.

2.)    Cut all the vegetables medium dice.

3.)    Combine the thyme, oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

4.)    Saute the root vegetables until fork tender.

5.)    Enjoy!!

Thirsty Duck Recipe

Thirsty Duck Recipe

The latest “R&D” trip that Hot Man Joppie took was to Thirsty’s Lodge in Groton, SD.  Tim Thurston, the owner, took me and my buddies on a guided duck hunt which was quite successful.  Tim served mallard one night that was amazing, and shared his recipe here for y’all to enjoy!  If you’d like to know about hunting game birds in South Dakota, contact Tim at

Getcha the following:

  • one quacker plucked,full body,we’re talking corn fed mallard
  • place in roasting pan breast down
  • 3 cloves of garlic or 2 spoons minced
  • 2 onions quartered
  • 3 long carrots unshaved and halved
  • 3 taters halved unshaved
  • one beef bouillon cube
  • one green apple half or whole, place in body cavity
  • fill pan with water a little over half way up the ducks body
  • add 2 pieces of bacon on top of the duck’s back
  • half teaspoon black pepper
  • half teaspoon oregano
  • one glass of cherry wine 

cook 220-250 deg for 3-4 hours

Tim Thurston says:

best eaten warm or hot,don’t fonder(that means dont eat so fast your toe nails curl up).  garlic,onion,apple,are optinal but adds boo coo flavors.  skins on tators and carrots contain alot of vitamins and flavor just get the dirt off.

Northwoods Pheasant with Cumberland Sauce

Northwoods Pheasant with Cumberland Sauce


We found this recipe in one of Hop Man Joppie’s favorite cookbooks Pheasants Forever Essential Game Bird Recipes.  The recipe was submitted to them by Tim Wendt of Cross Plains, WI.  We served this with a fruited long grain wild rice combination.  This awesome recipe is a great way to tame those game birds!

Pheasant Prep Ingredients: 

2 pheasant breasts

Seasoning salt

1 box (6 oz.) long grain and wild rice blend with seasonings

1/4 cup chopped yellow onion

1 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

bay leaves (for garnish)

Sauce Ingredients 

1 jar (12 oz.) red currant jelly

3 oz. sweet orange marmalade

1 cup port wine

1 cup orange juice

1 tbsp light brown sugar

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp dry mustard

1/8 tsp cayene pepper

1/8 tsp salt


 Lightly season pheasant breasts with seasoning salt.  Breasts may be saut’eed or grilled.  Prepare rice as shown on box.  In a little butter, saut’e onion and apple.  When rice is done, combine rice, onions, apples, walnuts and cranberries.  Garnish with fresh bay leaves.

For the sauce, combine all ingredients on the list and bring to a boil.  Let sauce simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve sauce on the side.  The unused sauce may be frozen.

Roasted Wild Duck

Roasted Wild Duck

Did you know that the only way to get Wild Duck in the USA is to shoot it yourself?  Well, you could also have a hunting pal that might be willing to share his or her bounty with you if you promised to used this recipe and cook for them!  Wild duck, unlike chickens or turkeys, that require an internal temp of 170 degrees, is best eaten rare, like a delicious, juicy T-bone steak.



  • Wild (not domestic) whole duck(s), prepped (gutted, remove head and feet, pluck all feathers, and remove shot and any bruised areas)
  • Your favorite cooking oil (we like Olive Oil)
  • Coarse Sea Salt ground up
  • Garlic (optional)
  • Rosemary
  • Onion
  • Sweet Apple
  • Whole Cloves
  • White Wine
  • Heavy Whipping Cream



  • Preheat oven to 450F.  Rinse duck with water.  Pat dry with paper towels. Rub the duck thoroughly on the outside and inside cavity with olive oil.  Sprinkle the duck with a generous amount of the coarse sea salt.  If you like garlic, sprinkle a very light amount of it on the outside too.  Don’t use a heavy hand with the garlic.
  • Take some cloves and poke them into an apple slice, a sprig of rosemary, and a little wedge of onion, and stuff inside of the duck. (If you are cooking a larger duck, like a Mallard, you can add more stuffing inside of the duck.)
  • Place the ducks, with the breast up, in a roasting pan and put in the middle rack of the oven.  Lower the temperature in the over to 425F.
  • Depending on the kind of duck you are cooking, the times will vary.  If the duck weighs less than a pound, it will cook in about 15 minutes.  If the duck is larger, such as a mallard, it will take up to 25 minutes.  We suggest you cook the duck until the internal temperature reaches 135F.  You can test with a meat thermometer, or if you have an instant read thermometer.
  • Our suggestion is that it’s better to have the duck come out rarer, because you can always put the bird back in the oven if it’s not cooked enough.  If you overcook it, it will taste gamey.  The meat should look like a rare steak, (not raw), with the juices running red when you cut into it.
  • Once the meat is done as described above, you can remove it from the oven.  Put it on a plate to rest, with the breast side down, for 15 minutes.  Take the items that were put in the duck cavity out before you serve the meal.
  • Do not throw out the drippings and browned bits in the roasting pan.  Put the pan on the stove on medium heat.  Scrape the browned bits up, and add a bit of white wine in to deglaze the fat.  Whisk this into the wine, to a reduction.  Add a little heavy cream, and even some berries (sweet) if  you want.  You now have a wonderful gravy to use on the duck.
  • Serve ducks with your favorite rice or fingerling potatoes.  We enjoy it with Zatarain’s® Fire Roasted Vegetables & Rice Mix and a sweet coleslaw.

Recipe provided by our hunting machine friend, J.R. Rogus.  Thanks John!