Grilled Quail with Homemade Walnut Syrup Glaze
Quail have become a popular meat source to many small homesteads and backyard farmers. They are small, don’t need a lot of space, and are ready for meat production and egg laying within 6 weeks. They are an excellent food source for those wanting a form of self reliance.
Quail are basically mini chickens. They have a similar flavor and provide a nutritiously healthy meat. Because they are small, cooking time is far less than your typical chicken but the same type recipes and preparation can be used. Some claim that quail can have what’s called a gamey flavor, mainly because it is different from what they are used to eating. One way to remedy this is by brining or marinating your meat prior to cooking.
Brine is a mixture of water, spices, herbs and a high concentration of salt. The salt helps to break down the meat, while the herbs and spices infuse it with flavor. Brines do not have to be standard or typical. A simple wet brine consist of salt and water. A dry brine is usually salt and dried spices.
When it comes to brining wild meat, dry brines seem to have a better effect on a game birds as where wet brines work well with game such as deer.
Although dry brines are what we typically use for game birds, I prefer a wet brine for this recipe. In my opinion it keeps the quail from drying out to quickly on the grill.
Most of my brines consist of salt, and many different herbs. I also add ingredients such as lemon juice, soy sauce and oils to my brines quite frequently.
One of my favorite brines to make is what I call forest brine. This consist of edible plants foraged from the forest including:
Wild Herb Mix
~Prickly pear cactus
~Various stems (sage, lemonbalm, mugwart)
~Juniper berries, crushed
~Mushrooms (turkeytail, reishi, etc) for medicinal purposes
~Dried leaves (maple, mulberry, etc)
~ 3 cups water
~ 1 cup quality beer
~ 3 tablespoons salt
~ 1 lemon, juiced
~ 1/4 cup olive oil
~ 4-5 garlic cloves, whole
~ 2 cups Wild Herb Mix
You can substitute the wild herb mix with typical store bought herbs such as thyme, sage, etc.
Add meat of your choice and ingredients to a stainless steel pot. Mix well, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Now we’re ready to grill!
~ 6-10 brined quail
~Walnut syrup (substitute Maple if necessary)
Grill quail over medium high heat, turning as needed, until browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Baste quail every few minutes with syrup until ready.
Top with a syrup drizzle and serve hot or at room temperature. Curious about making your own walnut syrup? Follow our step-by-step instructions and learn to make your own!
If you are foraging for the wild herb mix, make sure you are 100% positive of identification before consuming any wild plants. Certain plants can have interactions with medications as well as health disorders. If you are pregnant nursing or taking medication, speak with your doctor first before consuming any wild plants or mushrooms. View our disclaimer here.
These grilled quail are so delicious, kid friendly and really easy to make! One of the best quail recipes I’ve tried. Brining the quail prior makes all the difference, and produces a tender tasty meat that pairs well with anything!