Quails are small game birds, found in abundance in many regions throughout the world. Some of the most common quail breeds in the U.S. include the bobwhite, California, and mountain. A favorite of many hunters, quails are also farm-raised and sold in grocery stores. Quail meat has a stronger, meatier flavor than chicken, but is not as gamey as pheasant or even duck. Brine quail meat before cooking to keep it succulent. Add herbs and spices to your brine to infuse the meat with tasty flavors.
Things You'll Need
- Kosher salt
- Large spoon
- Optional seasonings
- Whole quails, cleaned
- Heavy plate
- Paper towels
Add water and kosher salt to a large saucepan, using a ratio of 1/4 cup salt to one quart water. Ensure that you are preparing an adequate amount of brine to completely submerge your meat.
Bring the water to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Add seasonings to the water, if desired. Herbs that complement quail include thyme, rosemary, garlic powder and bay leaf. Cracked black pepper and granulated white sugar also add flavor to the brine. Continue to boil the brine liquid for about three minutes.
Remove the pot from the stove. Allow the brine to cool to room temperature, then transfer the pot to the refrigerator. Cool the brine for a few hours, or until it reaches 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add the quails to the pot of brine. Place a heavy dinner plate on top of the quails as a weight, making sure they are completely submerged in liquid. Allow the quails to brine for at least one hour, or for up to six hours.
Take the quails out of the brine and discard the liquid. Rinse the meat thoroughly under cold, running water. Pat the birds dry with paper towels, then prepare the quail in your favorite recipe.
Tips & Warnings
- Try roasting or grilling quail to medium-rare.
- Allow two to three quails per person.
- Sharing Plates: A Table for All Seasons; Jared Ingersoll
- Hunter Angler Gardner Cook: Roast Quail
- American Regional Cuisine; The Art Institutes
- The Gift of Southern Cooking; Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock
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