By Steve Mayer

The thrill of busting a covey of these tasty game-birds is one of the great joys of bird hunting. With quail season upon us, here is an awesome way to prepare them for your family. Allow 2-3 birds per person. If you aren’t lucky enough to get your own quail, many grocery stores and Asian markets carry quail in their freezer section. You can substitute different flavors of jelly to suit your tastes. Cherry or pomegranate works well, but the heat of the jalapeno really goes well with the bourbon.Ingredients

  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • Glaze
  • ½ cup (5 ounces) jalapeno pepper jelly
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  • 8-10 whole, skin-on quail
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper

In a large bowl mix together the brine ingredients. You can get adventurous here and add some bay leaves and other flavor enhancing spices if you would like. Stir the mixture well until all of the salt and sugar have dissolved. Spatch-cock the quail by using a poultry shears to cut up each side of the backbone. The backbone is then removed, allowing the bird to be flattened more fully for even cooking. Place the birds and the brine in a one gallon zip-lock bag, and marinate in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours.
Make the glaze by mixing the jelly, bourbon and Worcestershire sauce together in a small saucepan. Heat to a boil, stirring continuously, until well blended and remove from heat.
Pre-heat your grill to medium heat.
Remove the birds from the brine and pat dry. Salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with olive oil. Grill the quail breast side down for a few minutes. Brush with glaze and flip over. Keep brushing and flipping every 2 minutes until cooked to a golden brown and still slightly pink in the breast (about 6-8 minutes total per side). Set aside to rest for 5 minutes prior to serving. Serve with wild rice and either a California Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. The perfect wine to accompany this is available from

Click here to download a printable recipe card.