Quail hunting is an exciting sport, but unless you own a ranch with quail or have a friend that does, it tends to be an expensive hobby. Fortunately for those of us who still want to enjoy the awesome delicacy of quail meat, several options are available to purchase them ready to cook. I talked with Jacob Coppedge from Texas Quail Farms and I was impressed with the operation and their love for their product.
Texas Quail Farms, Inc., (texquail.com) founded in 2003 with headquarters in Lockhart, is the largest state-inspected quail processing plant in Texas. The company produces a wide variety of protein-based quail products ranging from whole birds to semi-boneless birds, including gourmet specialties such as bacon-wrapped breasts and legs.
Quail is not as mild and white as chicken meat, but not as dark and musky as, say, squab. The meat is reddish with a delicate texture, and is quite lean. Whole quails are often wrapped in bacon before roasting to maintain moisture.
Tender quail is versatile; whether baked, roasted, pan-seared, grilled or braised; they take all types of seasoning and marinades well. Just remember these little birds can dry out if overcooked. It’s best to cook them quickly and leave them medium rare.
Texas Prime Quail is a low-fat, low-sodium and healthy alternative to beef, pork and chicken. TQF quail has natural flavoring only and is not soaked or pumped with salt water. The recipe that follows is one I created a few years back when I was cooking a wild game dinner on a large quail and deer hunting ranch in Tilden, Texas. They wanted a spicy, yet flavorful glaze to go on the quail, so I paired up my Habanero Pepper Jelly with some other ingredients and decided to finish it with a flamed tequila caramelized finish. I hope you all like it, and will also remember that this recipe will work well with chicken, chukar, and pheasant as well.
This recipe is for 12 to 18 quail. If you use wild-hunted birds, be sure to pluck, clean, and rinse well. Check for pellets and cut in half length wise.
1 dried Ancho or Guajillo pepper- seeded, and coarsely chopped
½ jar Texas Gourmet’s Habanero Pepper Jelly
16 oz. chicken broth
3 T. fresh cilantro
4 T. honey
2 cloves garlic
½ white onion – chopped
1 T. black pepper
1 T. soy sauce
2 T. lime juice
3 oz. Gold Anejo or Reposado tequila
2 tsp olive oil
Place the ancho pepper in a sauce pot, with the chicken broth ,onion, garlic, cilantro and bring to a boil for about 7 to 8 minutes or until all ingredients are softened, transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return to sauce pot and place on medium heat.
Add the Habanero Jelly, honey, lime juice pepper and olive oil. Increase heat to boil and then add the tequila. Carefully and using a long stirring spoon, light the tequila in the pot and stir slowly until flames stop. (The flames can get fairly high so don’t do this without a vent hood running) Remove from heat
Rub the quail down with olive oil or spray with olive oil spray, then pat down lightly with a paper towel. Place the quail on a seasoned grill indirectly over the fire, skin side up( clean and wipe the grates with oil first). Mesquite or charcoal is preferred, but gas will work. Baste with the glaze, cover and turn every 3 to 4 minutes reapplying the glaze each time you turn them. Cook for approx… 12 to 14 minutes or until thermometer inserted registers 155 degrees. Remove from grill and cover quail with a loose piece of foil to rest for 8 to 10 minutes. Now, that’s some fine eating Texas quail.
See more recipies at thetexasgourmet.com
Email Bryan Slaven at [email protected]