Let this small bird speak volumes at your next dinner party.
Quail, one of the smaller members of the pheasant family, has been a fixture protein in French dishes for generations. This small-but-mighty bird has a similar taste to chicken, with all dark meat and tender flesh. If you’re looking to impress at your next dinner party, here’s a guide to shopping for, prepping, and cooking quail perfectly, every time.
Once you decide you want to try this Old World game bird out for yourself, your next step is selecting your bird. When visiting the butcher, choose birds that are plump to ensure you have a better ratio of bone to meat. The skin of a healthy quail should be yellow or creamy with a pink hue—avoid quail with dry, wrinkled skin. You can purchase bone-in, semi-boneless, or fully boneless birds.
Cook your bird within two to three days after purchasing to ensure the best flavor.
You have a few tried-and-true methods when it comes to preparing quail: roasting, grilling, sautéing, and even frying. If you want to lock in flavor and ensure a juicy, flavorful meal, wet or dry brine your bird ahead of time.
Roasting quail has an end result of dry, seasoned skin while maintaining a juicy, flavorful interior. This method works well if your quail is the main protein of an entree or appetizer, as it allows the flavors to take center stage.
To roast your quail, you’ll need a Roasting Pan or Baking Dish, butcher’s twine, and a meat thermometer. Ensure your bird is at room temperature before cooking.
Grilling quail has a similar end result to roasting, with the added bonus of smoky, charred flavors. This is also a great preparation method if your quail is the main dish.
For this cooking method, you’ll need a charcoal or gas grill, kitchen scissors, and skewers.
Sautéing quail lends a milder flavor that works well for side dishes or as part of a larger dish where quail is not the main protein.
For this method, you’ll need a large Frying Pan or Saute Pan, kitchen scissors, tongs, and skewers.
Since quail is similar in taste and texture to chicken, it only makes sense that it would be just as delicious fried. Frying quail is a great and easy way to turn this delicious bird into something special, whether that’s a fried quail sandwich or just fried quail on its own.
For this method you’ll need a Dutch Oven, plenty of vegetable oil, buttermilk, spices and flour.
If you’re ready to try your hand at one of these methods of cooking quail, try out this Grilled Quail recipe from Chef Andy Knudson of Austin-based Tillie’s restaurant. Served with okra, radishes, and sauce vierge, this is the perfect test of your newfound quail cooking skills.
Born out of a 100-year old, family-owned restaurant supply business, we work to ensure our Cookware is as detail oriented as the chefs who choose to use it in their kitchens.Learn More
Weekly recipes, techniques, and tips. Plus the culinary stories that make cooking meaningful. Sign up for our newsletter.