We love quail. Fried, grilled, baked or in casseroles, they don’t last long when they hit our kitchen table. Wild quail are making a comeback in our area, a welcome sight, but numbers aren’t quite high enough to supply us with many meals throughout the season. Fortunately, a few good friends often work their bird dogs over pen-raised birds. If we get the birds whole, we pluck them. Sometimes, our friends will skin the birds and stick them in the freezer for us. Either way, they make for good eats.
This recipe is one of our favorites for skinned quail. You can spatchcock the bird so that it cooks evenly in the pan, halve it, or even quarter it into breasts and leg portions. For a main course, we like to figure 2-3 birds per person. When serving as an appetizer, 1 bird per person should be plenty.
A cast-iron skillet makes the perfect cooking vessel since it can go straight from the stovetop to the oven.
10-15 Dressed quail
skin on or off
½ cup pecans crushed
½ cup of honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons butter
Begin by placing the pecans in a zip-style bag and crushing them with a meat mallet. Set the pecans aside.
Season the quail with the salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter is hot, place a third to half the quail in the skillet. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Sear in butter for 2-3 minutes per side. You don’t need to cook the quail all the way through at this point, just sear the surface. Move the seared quail to an ovenproof baking dish.
Add the remaining butter to the skillet and continue to sear the remaining quail. Once all of the quail have been seared and moved to the baking dish, sprinkle the crushed pecans evenly over them. Drizzle the honey over the quail and place the pan in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes until the quail are cooked through.
There’s work to do after the trigger is pulled, but the cleaning and the cooking can be fun as the hunt itself. Timber 2 Table is where Realtree’s experts will teach you to skin a squirrel in 1 minute, cape a buck for the wall, grill a delectable wild turkey popper and so much more.