A popular game bird in North America, Asia and Europe that is prized for its flavorful white meat. The male, called a cock, has brilliantly colored plumage and generally weighs in a range of 3 to 4 pounds when ready to prepare. The female, referred to as a hen, has a dull light brown plumage and weighs in a range of 2 to 3 pounds. Typical of smaller wild fowl, the meat is lean so it will be best prepared with moist heat or by barding, which consists of securing strips of fat or bacon around the meat to prevent it from drying out when it is cooked. Younger cocks and hens can be roasted and still retain a juicier, tender meat, while older cocks should be cooked with increased amounts of moisture to keep the meat from becoming too dry.
Pheasants are readily available at game farms where they are raised for sport or as a food item for consumers. Wild pheasants will tend to have tougher meat that is not as juicy or succulent as the birds raised on game farms which have access to more feed and are less active.