Filson Food: Chukars & Sagebrush Recipe

“There may be no greater way to enjoy a meal than by going into the bush and cooking your harvest in the field from where it came. Although not native to North America, after being introduced from Nepal and Afghanistan, chukar populations took hold in many western states and Canada. These birds have earned the nickname ‘Red-Legged Devil Bird’. If you relish a challenging hunt, chukar is right up your alley. To cap it off they make great table fare as well.”

– Connor Gabbott, Backcountry Chef

A NOTE ON COOKING CHUKAR

Chukars prefer to evade danger by running as opposed to flying, so the legs can be on the tougher side and benefit from low, slow, and wet cooking. If you intend to harvest more than one chukar during the season, it would be best to save up all the legs to braise or slow cook them. For this recipe, the bird was savored in the field. If chukar is not an option, substitute any other upland game bird such as grouse or partridge. When butchering any game bird, take a moment to check the contents of the crop to better understand your prey. In this specific bird, we found barley, soybeans, and peas.

Chukar Grilled Over Sagebrush_INGREDIENTS

Grilled Chukar

1 chukar, or substitute any other upland game bird
1 Tbsp oil
seasoning salt
1 tsp fennel seed
½ tsp chili flakes
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 lemon, halved

Roast Garlic Herb Potatoes

4 baby potatoes
4 cloves garlic, crushed with the skins on
1 Tbsp oil
seasoning salt
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig sage, torn
1 sprig oregano, torn

Chukar Grilled Over Sagebrush_3
Chukar Grilled Over Sagebrush_PREPARATION

Grilled Chukar

1. Pluck the chukar whole and clean the gut cavity and crop.
2. Using a knife or kitchen shears, remove the backbone, wing tips, and feet.
3. Drizzle the skin side of the chukar with oil, and season with the remaining seasonings.
4. Over a bed of medium-hot coals, grill chukar skin side down until browned and crispy.
5. Meanwhile, grill the lemons over high heat until slightly charred.
6. Flip the chukar and finish the cooking on the other side.
7. Squeeze the lemon over top of the entire dish and enjoy.

Roast Garlic Herb Potatoes

1. Slice the potatoes into ¼” thick rounds, and toss with the garlic cloves, seasoning salt, and oil.
2. Pan fry the potatoes in a pan over medium heat, tossing occasionally until the potatoes and garlic are golden brown, approximately 10 minutes.
3. Add the herbs to the pan and cook for 1–2 minutes, or until the rosemary and sage has fried up crispy.
4. Finish the potatoes with a squeeze of grilled lemon.