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Spicy Grilled Quail with Bacon

By David Bowers
Published: January 20, 2011
Grilled Quail
Photo by John & Tanya Bäck
If you’re not actually hunting quail on the land around your cabin, you can usually hunt them pretty successfully in the freezer section of the grocery store. Thaw completely before cooking. A quail is not quite enough food for one person; only light eaters get by with one. Wrapped with bacon, they’re so moist and flavorful that you’ll find yourself nibbling the tiny drumsticks looking for more meat. It’s best to plan on two quail apiece and nobody will run short. Serves 4.

2     cups orange juice
½    cup olive oil
2     garlic cloves, minced
2     tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1     tablespoon smoked paprika (also called pimenton)
8     whole quail
       Salt and pepper
8     slices thick-cut bacon

➊  Whisk the orange juice, olive oil, garlic, thyme and paprika in a shallow casserole dish. Add the quail, turning to coat. (Alternately, you can divide the marinade between two large zipper-top bags and put four quail in each bag.) Marinate for up to 1 hour.

➋  When ready to cook, prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill on high for 10 minutes, lid closed.

➌  Remove the birds from the marinade and pat them lightly with a paper towel. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and then wrap each one with a slice of bacon. Pulling the bacon tight and overlapping it usually holds it securely, but fasten with a toothpick if you like.

➍  Place the quail breast-side up over direct heat and grill, turning frequently and moving them around to prevent charring, for about 6 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp. Flip the quail and cook for another 5-6 minutes on the other side, just until the drumstick moves easily. Don’t overcook! The quail should be just cooked through.

➎  Remove to a platter and serve immediately.

Having a hard time hunting down quail? These delicious quails came courtesy of Manchester Farms in Columbia, S.C., which is the oldest and largest supplier of quail in the country.

For ordering information, visit or call (800) 845-0421.
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