Gamebird Gourmet // Upland Pizza

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Combine your favorite gamebirds with one of your favorite foods

Story, Recipes and Photos By Lukas Leaf

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Ever think of combining gamebirds with one of your favorite foods? Who doesn’t love pizza!

Upland pizza is a great way to make wonderful use of that package of legs and thighs you have been wondering what to do with, or maybe those breasts that need some judicious trimming and chunking up because you really centered your shot.

Pizza is easy to make at home. A simple dough can come together by hand in no time. A baking sheet will do the trick for cooking, but having an aerated pizza pan, oven pizza stone or large cast-iron skillet will give you the upgrade you need to create great pizza every time.

Another great way to cook a pizza is on the grill. Grill stones are perfect for the job. Opt for some wood instead of charcoal, and it'll be like your own private wood-fired pizza joint.

We’ll start with recipes for core ingredients you will need, then put together three great starter pizza. Get creative and craft your own masterpieces too.


 

Tips & Tricks: Grilling Pizza

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Creating your own wood fire-style pizza is as simple as firing up your grill. Whether the fuel is pellet, propane, charcoal or wood, there are 3 simple ways to grill up a tasty gamebird ‘za:

Straight on the Grill»
With this method, all you need to do is roll out the dough, lightly oil each side, and grill the dough as you would a burger bun. Get some nice char marks, flip and repeat. Remove the dough, add toppings, put the pizza back on the grill over indirect heat, close the grill and cook the ingredients.

From the Grill to a Sheet Tray»
You'll go through the same steps with the dough as you would with cooking straight on the grill, but instead of finishing the pizza straight on the grill, add the toppings onto the grilled dough on a sheet tray. Place the tray back on the grill, close it up, and finish the pizza as you would in an oven. Using the sheet tray makes it easier to control the cook of the dough itself.

Using a Grill Stone»
This method is less fussy, but you'll need a good grill stone that can handle the high heat a quality grill produces. Heat the stone up on the grill and get the temperature piping hot inside. Assemble the pizza on a tray or pizza paddle and slide it onto the stone. Close the grill and cook the pizza until crispy.


 

Core Pizza Ingredients

Core Pizza Ingredients

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Classic Pizza Dough

Makes six 8- oz. doughs or eight 6-oz. doughs

  • 5 cups all-purpose or 00 pizza flour
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups room temperature water
  • ½ cup EVOO
 

Special Pizza Sauce

This pizza sauce is easy to whip together and is a nice change from the standard store-bought fare

  • 1.5 Pounds Roma tomatoes
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 5-7 large cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • Coarse salt to taste
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
 

Simple Breakfast Sausage

Delicious alone, on pizza, or in a wide variety of dishes

  • 1 pound ground gamebird
  • 12 ounces bacon, ground
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly toasted
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
 

Easy Italian Sausage

This Italian sausage recipe is easy and versatile

  • 1 pound ground gamebird
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

 

Upland Pizza Recipes

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Pheasant Breakfast Pizza

This scrumptious pizza is loaded with mushrooms, sausage, green onions and eggs. Don't forget to dip into the extra gravy!

  • Simple Breakfast Sausage
  • Wild mushrooms
  • Whole eggs
  • White country gravy
  • Green onion
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Chili oil to finish (optional)
  • Coarse salt to finish
  • Cracked black pepper to finish
  • White Country Gravy Ingredients
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1-½ teaspoons black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
    • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ½ teaspoon onion powder
    • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
 

Mediterranean Upland Pizza

Pizza topped with a delicious blend of fresh ingredients

  • Braised marinated pulled pheasant or other gamebird
  • Roasted red peppers, sliced
  • Colossal green olives, pitted
  • Quartered artichoke hearts
  • Sliced red onion
  • Whole baby spinach
  • Fresh garlic, minced
  • Feta cheese
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • Coarse salt to finish
  • Cracked black pepper to finish
 

Upland Sausage Pizza

An upland-spin on a crowd-pleasing classic

  • Easy Italian Sausage
  • Special Pizza Sauce
  • Crimini mushrooms (or mushrooms of your choice)
  • Marinated jalapeno peppers
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt to finish
  • Cracked black pepper to finish
  • 2 tablespoons butter

 

Craft Your Own Masterpieces

Armed with the core recipes for Classic Pizza Dough and Special Pizza Sauce, you are ready to craft your own gamebird pizza creations with favorite and creative ingredients. Glean cooking approaches, methods and times from the other recipes, have fun, and remember: You really can’t go wrong!

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Lukas Leaf is the lead chef at Modern Carnivore and a pizza artist at home.

A shorter version of this story appeared in PF & QF's 2022 Upland Bird Hunting Super Issue. If you enjoyed it and would like to see more delicious recipes in the pages of the magazine, become a Pheasants Forever member today!