Fire Pit Pheasant Meatballs

Thank you to Salt Box for sharing this recipe with us - you can find them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and their website These pheasant meatballs are the perfect way to introduce your younger ones to game meat.


Prep Time
20 minutes

Cook Time
30 minutes

Whilst we don’t advise you to head to your nearest woodland to light a fire, we do heavily endorse a good dose of nature and fresh air as often as you can. Here at The Salt Box, we are firm believers in nourishing through nature. So head out into the garden, roll up your sleeves and fire up your pits.


We are firm believers that if we are eating meat, then we should all be trying to incorporate a little more game meat into our diets. It’s super sustainable, really healthy and generally a lot more flavourful than the mainstream sources of protein found on our supermarket shelves.


Your local butcher should be able to source you some pheasant, as well as mince it for you. If pheasant isn’t available when you come to cook your meatballs, then it can easily be substituted for partridge, pigeon, rabbit, venison… or literally any other meat of your choice. The only thing we need to consider when using a different meat is the fat content – we generally look for a fat content of 20%. This gives us the perfect balance between moisture, flavour and texture. In this recipe, we’re using a combination of minced pheasant and minced pork. To add an extra bit of indulgence, you could also add a little prosciutto or cured meat to your pheasant meatballs, to give them a real depth of flavour.


The egg and bread in this recipe are crucial for binding the meats together, making sure that they don’t fall apart in the pan. Soaking the bread in the milk first, makes the cooked pheasant meatballs so much lighter and super tender. If the meatballs feel dry, then you can add a splash more milk before cooking. Only add a little at a time, we can always add more but it’s harder to rectify if we add too much.


This dish is best served simply around the fire with a large hunk of crusty bread. By all means bulk it out with pasta, polenta or mash, but for us it’s the simple pleasure of keeping it simple and working as a family to create a wonderful family feast cooked around the fire.




Serving 4
  For the Dish
50g Fresh breadcrumbs
400g Pheasant thighs, minced
150g Pork belly, minced
A good pinch Nutmeg
A good pinch Fennel seeds
1/2 lemon Lemon zest
1 Egg
45ml Millk
3 sprigs Sage
3 sprigs Rosemary
1 clove Garlic
450ml Passata (or tomato sauce of your choice)
1 ball Mozarella, roughly shredded

To start

Before we start, we need to light a fire and let it burn down to a good bed of embers. Rake the embers out, leaving a little fire burning in the back third of the fire pit, so that we can generate more embers to cook over throughout the cooking process.

Making the meatballs

Next, we need to get a bowl and pour in the milk and breadcrumbs. Give them a good stir together, and set them aside so the breadcrumbs can absorb all the milk, and plump up a little.


In a large bowl, place the pheasant mince, pork mince, and a little salt and pepper.


Finely grate the lemon and garlic into the bowl of mince.


Add a pinch each of ground nutmeg and fennel seeds.


Crack in the egg, and give everything a good mix together. Try and be lighthanded – as the more we work the mince, the tougher the meatballs will be once they are cooked. If the meatball feels a little dry, then we can add a splash more milk, giving everything another quick mix together.

Cooking the meatballs

Place a skillet or heavy based frying pan onto the grill to begin warming up. Make sure the frying pan is big enough to hold all your meatballs (without crowding them).


Take small nuggets of the meatball mix, and roll between your hands to form bitesize meatballs. Keep doing this until all the mix is used up.


Place a little oil into your pre-heated pan, if the pan is hot enough, the oil should shimmer. If not, place the pan a little closer to the heat, before placing in your meatballs. It is a good idea to wear fire gloves when moving cast-iron pans around the grills.


Place the meatballs into the skillet, and allow them to brown gently in the pan. Be sure to only turn the meatballs when they have ‘released’ themselves from the bottom of the pan. Gently turn the meatballs in the pan, trying to get a good amount of colour on all sides.


Once the meatballs have taken on some colour, add the sage and rosemary sprigs into the pan. This will add loads of flavour to the meatballs, but can be easily removed if you don’t like the stronger taste of herbs.

Cooking the sauce

Once the meatballs have browned all over, it’s time to add in your tomato sauce or passata. It will splutter, and may spit a little, so be careful and allow it to settle before giving it all a stir together.


Move the skillet to the coolest part of the fire to allow the sauce to gently simmer. Cook the meatballs until they are cooked through – they should be about 71°C.


Scatter over the shredded mozzarella, and allow to melt. If you have a pair of long-handled tongs (and fire gloves), you could grab a smouldering log from the fire and use it to grill the cheese by holding it close to the surface of the pan.

To serve

Remove the pan from the fire, and place on something heatproof, allowing it to cool slightly before digging in (the mozzarella, in particular, will be like lava!).


Serve with a nice, crusty loaf of bread, on mash or polenta, spaghetti, or your favourite pasta.


Protein (100g)


Calories (100g)


Fat (100g)


Cholesterol (100g)


Selenium (100g)


View Pheasant recipes