- 12 Quail
- 4 cups water
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup finely ground coffee or espresso
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Ancho chili powder
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- ½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
This recipe really showcases whole, skin-on, quail. Spatchcock your quail by removing the backbone using a sharp knife or set of poultry shears. Place the quail, bone side down on a cutting board. Smack the bird with the heel of your hand to flatten the breast. You’ll feel the breastbone crack and will now have a nice even piece of meat to cook.
Mix together the water, salt, and brown sugar in a large zip-lock bag to form the brine. (I threw a couple of shots of bourbon in mine as well) When the salt and sugar have dissolved fully, add the quail. Seal up and refrigerate at least a couple of hours, or ideally overnight. When you are ready to cook them, remove them from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel.
To make the rub, combine the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Stir until well blended well blended with a whisk or large fork.
Apply the rub liberally over the entire quail. When you have coated all of them, place in another zip-lock bag and return to the refrigerator for 2 hours or so.
Remove your quail from the refrigerator and allow to warm at room temperature for a half hour.
Get your grill going to medium high heat. I really like to use mesquite wood to cook quail. If you are using a gas grill, you can add some mesquite chips in a foil pouch with a couple of holes poked through to add some mesquite flavor.
Place the quail on the grill, bone side down. Sprinkle just a touch of kosher salt over them. Cover the grill and cook 5 minutes. Watch them carefully to make sure they do not burn! Turn them over and cook another 4-5 minutes or until they are golden brown and the meat reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees F.
Serve them over a bed of red beans and rice with a side of grilled Nopales and fresh avocado. The depth of flavor with a nice little chili kick on the finish, really highlights the delicate meat of the quail. The rub is fantastic and I would recommend making a double batch and trying it on a venison or beef steak. Sublime.
This dish pairs excellently with a dry Rose’ or a dry Riesling. If you prefer beer, I would recommend a smoky porter or a hoppy IPA to quaff with this dish.