Dove hunting is as much about getting together with your friends to celebrate the beginning of hunting season as it is anything else. Almost every hunter I know only keeps the boneless skinless breasts of the doves, but I’m convinced that’s because they don’t realize just how easy it is to pluck a dove—they might be the easiest game birds to pluck you’ll find.
An easy and delicious way to prepare whole doves is to toss them in a quick marinade that doubles as a sauce and then cook them quickly on your smoker. This makes for a sweet and smoky combo that pairs beautifully with the dark, full-flavored meat.
8 whole doves, plucked and spatchcocked 2 tbsp. MeatEater Fully Flocked seasoning 3 tbsp. maple syrup 2½ tbsp. white soy sauce (substitute regular soy sauce) 1½ tbsp. dry sherry or mirin 2 tbsp. orange juice 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper Arugula for garnish
- Preheat your smoker to 300°F and make sure you are getting consistent, near-transparent white smoke.
- To make the marindae, mix together the Fully Flocked seasoning, honey, soy sauce, mirin, and orange juice. Set aside half of the mixture for later and pour the other half over the doves. Place the meat and marinade in a zip-top bag and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes, or up to 3 hours.
- Remove the birds from the marinade and place on the smoker, with the meat facing up.
- Smoke for 10 minutes then baste with the reserved marinade.
- Allow the doves to cook for 5 minutes more before basting again. Repeat this one more time.
- Remove from the smoker and allow to cool slightly. Cut in half and glaze one last time with reserved marinade before serving. Serve alone, or with a light salad as an appetizer.