|  06/17/2021

Gamebird Gourmet // Barbecued Peach-Jalapeno Quail


Fire up the grill for this perfect summertime dish

Story and photo by Jenny Nguyen Wheatley

With peaches and warm weather in season, this sweet and spicy barbecued quail recipe is one to try this summer — along with a cold glass of sangria.

If you own a pellet grill, these quail are super easy to prepare, and there’s no rush on them. One hour at low heat gives you enough time to add a little smoke onto the birds — without drying them out. Also, I like this cooking method because it allows me time to get the rest of my meal ready. 

Two quail per person will do with additional sides; three quail per person for big eaters. To serve the glaze as a sauce for dipping, double the recipe.

Recipe: Barbecued Peach-Jalapeno Quail

Servings: 4 
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 1 Hour

8 whole, plucked quail
Kosher salt, to taste
1 teaspoon of paprika
2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 large fresh basil leaves
4 firm fresh peaches

1 cup peach preserves
1 large jalapeno, minced
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
½ teaspoon of kosher salt

1. Preheat grill to 275 degrees for indirect-heat cooking. If using charcoal, place hot coals to one side of the grill and keep that side open in case you need to add more coals; the quail will take 1 hour to cook at low heat. Meanwhile, combine glaze ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, and then set aside. 

2. With kitchen shears, cut through the backs of each quail. With breast side up, flatten each bird with the palm of your hand to spatchcock. Pat birds dry with paper towels, coat with olive oil and season generously with kosher salt and dusting of paprika. 

3. Place quails breast side up on the grill, away from direct heat, and baste with the peach-jalapeño glaze. Close the lid and cook for 30 minutes at 275 degrees.

4. Cut peaches in half, remove the pits and lightly coat the cut side with oil. After 30 minutes of cooking, baste the quail again and add peaches to the grill cut side down. Close lid and cook for an additional 20 minutes. 

5. Next, move peaches and quail, breast side down, over to direct heat and cook for 10 more minutes. Take quail and peaches off the grill and baste both with glaze. Lightly season grilled peaches with salt. Garnish with thinly sliced basil. Serve immediately with other finger foods on the side.

Jenny Nguyen Wheatley is associate editor at Nebraskaland Magazine and a frequent contributor to Quail Forever Journal. She and her husband run the wild game cooking blog foodforhunters.blogspot.com

This story originally appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of
Quail Forever Journal. If you enjoyed it and would like to see more delicious quail recipes in the pages of Quail Forever Journal, become a Quail Forever member today!