When you think about quail, breakfast might not be the meal that immediately comes to mind. After this, it will be. This is a perfect late-morning meal for after a long morning spent in the deer stand or turkey woods.
We serve it up with eggs, homemade biscuits, gravy, and a bowl of grits. To cut down on the cook time for a hungry crew, we spatchcock the birds before frying. Don’t know spatchcock? Don’t worry, all it means is to cut out the backbone and flatten the quail out. The increased surface area and reduced thickness cuts the cooking time to minutes. The increased surface area also holds more of the breading, giving a nice crunch in every bite.
For even more of the tasty crust, we do a three-step dredge process. First, we dip the quail in a seasoned flour mixture, then in tangy buttermilk, then back into the flour for an extra layer. We fry in a half-and-half combo of vegetable oil and lard for extra flavor, but you can use straight vegetable or peanut oil if you wish. As with most of our frying, Lodge Cast Iron gets the nod for cooking vessel of choice.
Because of the thick crust, this method works well with either skinless or plucked quail.
1-2 quail per person
2 cups buttermilk
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Spatchcock the birds by cutting down either side of the backbone. Remove the backbone and fold the bird out flat, breaking the wishbone and ribs so that the bird lays flat.
Dip the bird on both sides in seasoned flour.
Then dip into the buttermilk, then back into the seasoned flour for a second coating.
Move the dredged birds over to a wire rack and allow the coating to dry for at least 10 minutes before frying.
While the quail rest, heat 1/2 inch of oil and lard in a heavy cast-iron pan. When the oil reaches 325 degrees, gently lower the quail into the oil. Fry for 5 minutes then gently turn and fry the opposite side for 5 more minutes. Move the quail to a warm, paper-lined platter while you fry remaining quail.
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