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To “confit” something, is to cure it in salt and then cook it slowly in fat. It makes the meat buttery and fall off the bone. Is there anything that sounds more glorious than that?

It is common to see it done with duck legs, and other muscular cuts of meat, but here I’ve done it with a slew of pheasant legs that I brought back from my women’s Adventure Getaway last December. Try this! They last quite a while once they’ve been preserved and cooked in this way and are delicious warm or served room temperature on salads.

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For this recipe you’ll need 6 pheasant legs, the zest of an orange, cloves, fresh thyme, juniper berries, salt and pepper, and grape seed oil. You could swap the grape seed oil for olive oil or duck fat if you prefer.

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You’ll need a baking dish just large enough that your pheasant legs fit snugly. Any excuse to use my heart pan, isn’t it lovely?!

The first step in making a confit is to cure the meat. So we’ll start by pouring a half cup of salt evenly over the legs.

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Add about 5 sprigs of fresh thyme to the dish.

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Getting prettier by the second…

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Then you’ll crush and add roughly 5 juniper berries.

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Time to get down and dirty. Rub the cure evenly into every nook and cranny of the legs. Then place the legs in the fridge to cure for at least six hours, I left mine overnight. The longer they’re allowed to cure, the saltier the meat will be and the longer the legs will be preserved.

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After the meat has been allowed to cure, rinse the legs and the baking dish thoroughly. Then return the legs to the rinsed dish.

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Completely submerge the legs in grape seed oil. This is the essential step in any confit, but especially with such a lean bird like pheasant. Cooking the bird in oil or fat helps to break down some of those tough tendons, making the meat much more tender…and oh-so delicious!


Patience is a virtue…bake at 200 degrees for four to six hours. Once the meat is falling off the bone, it’s done!

Strain the oil, and save it for future use, like another confit!


You can serve the pheasant warm out of the oven. Or shred room temperature over a green salad. Dive. In.

“Pheasant Confit”

Prep Time1 day
Cook Time6 hours
Total Time1 day 6 hours


  • 6 Pheasant legs
  • 1/2 cup Kosher Salt
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 5 Cloves
  • 5 Sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 5 Juniper berries crushed
  • 4 liquid cups of Grape seed oil Or Olive oil or duck fat


  • Place pheasant legs snugly in baking dish
  • Add salt evenly on top
  • Add the orange zest, cloves, thyme, juniper berries, and pepper
  • Rub seasoning evenly into every surface of pheasant legs
  • Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, the longer the legs are allowed to cure the saltier they will be, and the longer they will preserve
  • Once the cure is finished, rinse the legs and baking dish
  • Return rinsed legs to baking dish and cover with the grape seed oil
  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  • Cook for 4 to 6 hours, or until the meat falls off of the bone
  • Strain and save oil for later use
  • Serve legs warm or room temperature on a salad


  • Thad S
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Your confit recipe is one of my mostest favorites! It does wonders on adult crane legs.

  • Libby
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 6:09 am

    I made this over the weekend and it is divine! I kind of want to put leftovers on a pizza with fresh mozz and arugula…and I could hardly get enough of the orange zest and thyme scent in my refrigerator while the legs were curing : )

    • Post Author
      Posted April 2, 2014 at 7:36 am

      Fantastic! That makes me so happy to hear.

  • MAX
    Posted November 1, 2014 at 11:04 am

    I’m just trying this recipe for the first time – excited to find a new idea for pheasant legs! How would you preserve them if you wanted to keep them?

  • Michelle gibbs
    Posted January 25, 2015 at 4:52 am

    I was really excited about this Recipe, my first attempt at confit. THe pheasants had been hung, i skinNed and prepared ready for a lavish sunday lunch with family.

    The confit looked and smelt amazing after the night in the fridge. I preheated my oven to 200 degrees as per the recipe. I was concerned about 200 degrees, i thought it was A bit High but trusted what i read by this ACCLAIMED chef.

    Fortunately i have a tin of confiT from a Recent trip to france.

    Can i suggest You clearly state whether temperatures are fAhrenheit or centigrade on RecIpes. My cremated little PHEASANT legs won’t be gracing our table!!!

  • Sukie Barber
    Posted December 29, 2016 at 4:25 am

    May I reiterate the recipe says 200 FAHRENHEIT or 93.3 Centigrade for those concerned as per the last comment above.

    From Sukie Barber

  • Avis
    Posted January 2, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Lovely recipe thank you but it does only seem to say 200 degrees so might be worth adding farenheit for CLARITY.

  • Christopher
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 11:36 am

    i don’t know what went wrong but the pheasant legs were inedible – i was concerned that the oven heat seems high, but went for it anyway (200 degrees).In the future i will get my recipes from elsewhere!!

  • Recoil Rob
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:11 am

    I mentioned phesant confit here on 01 October 2012 but never tried it with orange, will do next batch….

  • Margaret Hughes
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:07 am

    hi, can i confit pheasant breasts the same way. Have theem in the freezer at the moment. thanks for the recipe,,zMargaret Hughes

    • Georgia Pellegrini
      Posted April 26, 2018 at 9:22 am

      Hi Margaret, pheasant breasts don’t have the same muscle as the legs do, so they won’t break down as well and will instead become tough. What you could do is look up my recipe for duck prosciutto here on the website and try that with pheasant breast. Or you could look up my “brine” recipe on this website and brine the pheasant breasts before cooking them, that will make them more juicy. Enjoy!

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