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Barbecued Quail

Six quail species are native to North America with many states offering a quail hunting season. Most likely the first group of people in America to take advantage of quails for food were Native Americans. Harvested in the wild or purchased commercially, quail meat is known for its strong flavor and tender texture. It can be prepared quickly in a variety of ways such as roasted, braised, fried, and grilled. This recipe uses the grilling technique and a mustard-based style of barbecue sauce common in South Carolina.   

Recipe Servings: 4

Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Total Time
50 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free



  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan set over medium heat and then add the onion, sautéing for 3–4 minutes, until translucent.
  2. Stir in the mustard, brown sugar, cider vinegar, dry mustard, and cayenne pepper.
  3. Reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat the grill to high heat.
  5. Remove the backbones of the birds by cutting along each side.
  6. Place the quails, breast side up, on a flat surface and use a heavy weight to flatten each piece.
  7. Season the quail meat with salt and toss them in the vegetable oil until coated.
  8. Place the quails on the grill, breast side up, and grill over high heat with the grill lid down for 5 minutes. Paint the meat with the prepared barbecue sauce as it cooks.
  9. Turn the meat over and coat the cooked side with sauce. Cover the grill and cook for 2 minutes before turning the meat over and painting it with sauce again.
  10. Cover the grill and cook for another 2–4 minutes.
  11. Remove the meat from the grill and brush with remaining sauce.

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