How to Cook Pigeons


Pigeons are small birds -- each usually weighs 1 pound or less -- that are featured in unforgettable, mouthwatering meals suitable for special occasions. Simple techniques, such as roasting or frying, enhance the rich flavor of the meat. Available at butcher shops or specialty markets, pigeons are domestically grown birds prepared for market when they are only about a month old. The birds, also known as squab, are harvested just before they leave the nest, so the meat is extremely tender.

Things You'll Need

  • Butter
  • Bacon
  • Roasting rack
  • Roasting pan
  • Serving plate
  • Olive oil or cooking oil
  • Minced garlic
  • Fresh herbs
  • Pastry brush
  • Frying pan

Roasting It Whole

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Place a pat of butter inside the breast cavity of the pigeon, then wrap the pigeon with one or two slices of bacon.

  • Place the pigeon on an oiled roasting rack with the breast facing up, then put the rack in a roasting pan. Roast the pigeon for 15 minutes.

  • Remove the bacon and cook the bird for an additional 10 to 20 minutes, or until the pigeon is golden brown.

  • Place the roasted pigeon on a serving plate and let it rest for at least three minutes before serving.

Frying a Breast

  • Combine a small amount of olive oil or cooking oil, minced garlic and fresh herbs, such as thyme or rosemary. Brush the mixture lightly on the pigeon breast.

  • Place a small amount of cooking oil or butter in a frying pan. Heat the oil on medium-high, then place the breast in the hot oil.

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  • Fry the pigeon breast for three to five minutes on each side, or until the breast is golden brown.

  • Transfer the meat to a serving plate and let it rest for at least three minutes before serving.

Tips & Warnings

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that birds such as pheasant, pigeon and quail reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit in the thigh and 170 in the breast.
  • You may marinate squab in the refrigerator for eight to 10 hours before you wrap the bird in bacon for roasting. Use a simple homemade marinade or a bottled product, such as teriyaki sauce or salad dressing.

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  • Photo Credit Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images
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