When you can’t get to the woods…

Pittsburgh Architecture

Sometimes you just need to get outside and take some pictures.  While we can’t always get to the woods, it’s important to keep your skills sharp.  Keep your camera with you and you can find a creative outlet wherever you are.  Here are a few snaps from a 10 minute lunch break in Downtown Pittsburgh!

Pittsburgh Architecture 2

Stay sharp!


Pheasant En Croute


Pheasant En Croute is a terrific appetizer or can be served with mixed greens as a light lunch.  Basically, it’s chunks of smoked pheasant breast and gouda cheese in a puffed pastry!  You can watch the whole process in Right Outside S3 E4.

Step One:  Brine the Pheasant before smoking

Add 1 cup table salt and 1 1/2 cups white sugar to 2 quarts of water.  Heat until all the ingredients are dissolved then set aside to cool.
Arrange pheasant breasts in a plastic or glass container and cover with brine.  Refrigerate over night.

Step Two:  Smoke the Pheasant

Using an apple or other fruit wood, smoke the pheasant for about two hours or until the internal temperature reaches 155 to 160 degrees.  Be careful not to over cook or over smoke.  If the pheasant requires more than two hours to reach temperature, stop the smoke treatment and simply continue to slow cook in your smoker.

Step Three:  Fill the pastry

Once you have finished smoking the pheasant, slice it thick (1/8 inch or so) using a tranche cut in order to leave more smoky surface area.  Then cut the slices so you have 1/2 inch long pieces.  Cut the gouda cheese in the same manner so you have 1/2 inch to 1/4 inch cubes.  Lay a triangle of Pillsbury Grand Crescent Roll dough in each cup of a muffin pan and add 2 parts pheasant to 1 part cheese.  Pinch the top so the mixture is encased in pastry.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the top of the pastry is golden brown.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Smoked Wild Turkey Sandwich

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This is a great recipe for smoked wild turkey breast (as well as one from the Giant Eagle).  Slice it thin and enjoy!

The Brine

1 Gallon of Apple Juice
1 Cup Morton’s Pickling Salt
3/4 Cup White Sugar
1/2 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

Combine all of the ingredients in the order listed in an oven bag (in a pot) and stir thoroughly.  Add the turkey breasts and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.  A few hours before cooking, remove the breasts from the brine, pat dry and leave uncovered in the refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours until a nice patina has formed.

Heat your smoker up to 225 degrees and remove the breasts from the refrigerator so they can begin to warm up.  Transfer the turkey breasts into foil containers and put them in the smoker.  Use a mild smoke (I prefer Apple) for 2 hours then continue to cook for another 2 or 3 hours until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Remove from the smoker and slice on a deli slicer or by hand using a tranche cut (angled cut).  Serve on a soft bun with provolone cheese and your favorite fixings!