Grilled Quail with Mustard Barbecue Sauce

Southern Kitchen
Quail With Mustard Barbecue Sauce

About the recipe

Readily available in many supermarkets (or in your local fields, if you’re the hunting type), quail packs a lot of flavor for such a diminutive bird. It also makes a divine alternative to traditional turkey if you’ve got a smaller crowd for Thanksgiving this year. To give the bird a bit of Low Country flair, we’ve brushed it with South Carolina-style mustard barbecue sauce; its tanginess and subtle spice are fine foils to the slightly gamey flavor of the birds.

Less gamey than duck, quail only requires a short amount of cooking time over high heat to reach the proper doneness of medium-rare. Since the bird has so little natural fat, cooking beyond medium-rare runs the risk of developing a grainy texture in the meat. Feel free to use your favorite bottled barbecue sauce in this recipe to keep things easy. You can also prepare the quail indoors using a grill pan.

Serves: 4 to 6

Hands On Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


6 semi-boneless quail

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup mustard barbecue sauce, store-bought or homemade


Heat a grill to high.

Arrange quail on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Place quail on the grill skin-side-down. Brush the exposed side of the meat with the barbecue sauce. Cook just until you can see dark grill marks on the skin, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip quail and brush skin side with the sauce. Close the lid and cook until just medium-rare (the internal temperature of the bird should read between 120 and 125 degrees), about 4 minutes.

Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.