This recipe makes a no-fuss, eat-with-your-hands kind of meal to enjoy on the patio this summer. Marinated quail on the grill and a fresh potato salad can’t be beat this time of year.
I enjoy eating plucked birds with crispy skin as much as any other wild game, however, I always find a few birds in the freezer that didn’t get plucked. I use this opportunity to drown the meat in a flavorful marinade, ideal for skinless birds.
Soaking the quail in buttermilk overnight not only adds flavor, but also acts as a tenderizer. I use garlic and paprika to enhance this simple marinade and give the meat a more appetizing color.
For a side, I like the seasonality of sugar snap peas. In early summer they’re sweet and crunchy, perfect for serving raw. Mix them into your next potato salad for a healthy twist on this deli classic.
Buttermilk Grilled Quail
- 8-10 whole quail, spatchcocked
- 3 cups buttermilk
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. sea salt, plus extra
- ½ tsp. cracked pepper, plus extra
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika, plus extra
- 2 tbsp. grapeseed, avocado or canola oil for cooking
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
- ½ cup garlic-infused buttermilk (reserved from marinade)
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tsp. fresh dill, minced
- 2 tsp. fresh parsley, minced
- 2 tsp. green onion, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 lbs. baby red potatoes, cut in half
- 1 ½ cups sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tbsp. fresh dill, minced
- 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
- 1 tbsp. green onion, minced
- ¼ cup buttermilk ranch
- Salt and pepper to taste
Also works with
Buttermilk Grilled Quail:
- For best results, marinate the spatchcocked quail in buttermilk 24 hours in advance.
- To make the marinade, use a mortar and pestle to smash the garlic and sea salt into a smooth paste. If you don’t have this hand tool, you can grate the garlic or use a knife to mince finely. Add the garlic to a large bowl and whisk in the buttermilk and cracked pepper. Remove a ½ cup of this garlic-infused buttermilk and set aside in a separate small bowl to make the ranch dressing.
- Stir the smoked paprika into the big bowl of buttermilk marinade and add the quail. Mix the meat with the marinade thoroughly and use a ziplock bag to store. Put it in the fridge until you’re ready to grill.
- Pull the quail out from fridge and bring to room temperature before grilling. Drain excess marinade and gently pat the meat dry with paper towels. Pour about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil into a small bowl and season with sea salt, pepper, and a pinch of smoked paprika. Brush each bird with the seasoned oil to keep from sticking to the grill and to add more flavor and color.
- Preheat a grill to high heat or burn charcoal down to coals. Lay each bird face down and close the lid. After 3 minutes, flip and baste the birds with more seasoned oil. Close the lid and grill another 4 to 5 minutes or until cooked all the way through.
- Serve the grilled quail with potato salad and buttermilk ranch dressing.
- Take the ½ cup of reserved, garlic-infused buttermilk and whisk in the mayo, and 2 teaspoons each of the dill, parsley and green onion. Taste and season with extra salt and pepper if needed. This should yield roughly ¾ of a cup. Set the buttermilk ranch aside until ready to serve.
- The potato salad can also be prepared a day in advance. Cut the potatoes in half or quarters if needed so each piece is roughly the same size. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a few generous pinches of sea salt and the potatoes. Cook until tender but still firm, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Bring another pot of water to a boil and carefully ladle in the eggs. Set a timer for 7 minutes to have soft boiled eggs. Add an additional 30 seconds for extra large eggs. While boiling, prepare a bowl of ice and add water. When the timer goes off, remove the eggs and set inside the ice bath for a few minutes to cool down. Crack, peel and roughly chop the eggs.
- In a large bowl add the boiled potatoes, chopped eggs, sliced sugar snap peas, and 1 tablespoon each of dill, parsley and green onion. Pour in roughly ¼ cup of the buttermilk ranch and mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper and add extra herbs or ranch if desired. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.