Cooking Multiple Pheasants

I am going to do some pheasant breasts for a dinner party. I need to do 6 birds (the two breasts). Can I do them all at the same time? If the suggestion is to only do them 1-2 birds at a time, how do I manage the ones cooked first until time to sear in the skillet (in the bag or out? fridge or counter?)

Currently the breasts are on the bone and both haves still attached to each other- no skin. Am I better off leaving them together or splitting them so the vacuum seal gets tighter on the birds instead of having an air pocket in the ribs? The times vary greatly between 30 min and 2 hrs - all at 145 degrees- any suggestions on that? These are wild shot pheasants so on the smaller size but the size varies from bird to bird.

Also, some recipes call for butter, others for olive oil, thoughts on using duck fat for them instead?

Thanks for the help!

(I’ve done duck breast before, but only 2 and we ate them immediately)

Providing the breasts do not overlap in the bag you can pack in multiples, most likely 2 or 3 per bag. The bags can then all be cooked at once if you cooking bath is big enough. There is no adjustment to time required for multiple pieces.

With sous vide processing time is flexible. One of the reasons it became popular is the idea that you can’t ‘overcook.’ While not exactly true the concept is good enough for most situations. Extra time will not ruin your food and with most proteins it will simply make it more tender (within reason).

The reason for the range of times is individual variation. You said it yourself, the breasts are not all thr same. Cooking (any form of cooking) is based upon getting heat into the item being cooked. Heat needs to penetrate from the surface of the product to the centre. That takes around an hour per inch (near enough for our purposes here) so getting the temperature through a half inch thick breast would take a minimum of 30 mins and up to 2 hours for thicker ones. The thinner breasts will not deteriorate in this time.

I’d take the breasts off the bone for ease of handling. There is little or no benefit in leaving them on the bone with sous vide processing.

Thank you so much! I have a very large pot so feeling I can get them all upright and covered and not touching - great news about deboning- will make it much easier. Will cook based off of thickest breast.

Ken, bone on, bone off, it depends on how much work you can handle and how easy you want to make it for your guests. You first need to decide on portion size, and then how you are presenting them.

If your last experience with duck breast was satisfactory, don’t change anything providing they were wild versus farm raised. Wild game is a 2x + when it comes to cooking time when compared to farm raised.

If platter, as in family service, I’d leave the half breasts in one piece. For plate service, it’s a nice touch to slice across the pheasant breasts at an angle, or bias, and drape the slices over a base of something like wild rice with pecans and dried blueberries. Never flat on the plate because it says you don’t care to your guests.

Twelve half pheasant breasts aren’t very big. Package them in fours if you can. And if you are able, SV cook them the 3 packages all at once. It will add 5 years to your life expectancy. If you don’t have a large enough vessel and can’t borrow one, you might want to reconsider producing this meal.

You don’t need any fat to SV cook pheasant breasts. Season them well before giving them a quick sear. Be sure to carefully check every piece for shot.

Definitely have a vessel large enough. Not worried about that part at all. This is actually a pheasant dinner with a variety of presentations of pheasant. I think I will go with a suggestion above to take off of the bone. It will be served family style. Thanks for the help.