Members of the Lobel family present another essential meat cookbook, Lobel's Prime Time Grilling, with recipes like Cowboy Steak with Chipotle Mayonnaise and Grilled Quail with Raspberry-Cranberry Cumberland Sauce
These tiny birds can weigh from three-and-a-half to eight ounces, although for the best flavor, we suggest smaller birds. Their white meat is delicately flavored and quite skimpy; the dark meat is not worth thinking about since there is so little on the birds. Serve at least two quail per person, although if you are grilling for big eaters, consider three or more.
Heat: Moderately Hot Coals
1. Prepare the quail: Using a small sharp knife or poultry shears, split each quail along the backbone, cutting through the ribs as close to the backbone as possible. Open the quails, skin side down, and cut partway through the breastbone. Flatten the quails with the flat side of a cleaver or the heel of your hand. Put the quails in a large, shallow glass or ceramic dish. Rub each bird inside and out with the shallots, rosemary, and pepper. Pour the oil and vinegar over the birds, turning them to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight, letting the quail come to room temperature before grilling.
2. To prepare the sauce, in a small saucepan combine the jam, Port, shallots, and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 2 minutes. Add the orange juice, cranberries, and sugar, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until the cranberries burst and the sauce is slightly thickened. Season to taste with cayenne. Serve warm or at room temperature. (The sauce can be reheated just before serving.) Soak the bamboo skewers in warm water for at least 30 minutes.
3. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill: Lightly spray the grill rack with vegetable oil cooking spray. Light the coals or heating elements, and let them burn or heat until moderately hot.
4. Lift the quail, one at a time, from the dish, and place each bird flat, positioning the legs and thighs pointing inward to frame the breast. Discard the marinade. Using the bamboo skewers, skewer the quail so that they will hold together during grilling. Catch the outer skin of 1 thigh with a bamboo skewer and then weave it under the thigh bone, through the ribs and into the opposite thigh, under the bone, and out through the center of the skin. Cut the skewer with poultry shears so that it juts from the bird no more than 1 inch. Repeat with the remaining quail.
5. Place the quail on the grill, skin side down, and cover the grill. Cook for about 5 minutes, taking care the fire does not flare up or get too hot. Turn the birds and grill, covered, for about 5 minutes longer, until the breast meat feels springy to the touch and the meat is cooked through, golden brown on the outside and opaque throughout. Serve with the sauce.
This page created May 2007
Copyright © 1994-2017,