For a weekend or that rare evening when you’ve got a little more time on your hands than usual, I love this fun recipe for Classic Hot Quail.

Originally published in Garden & Gun Magazine, Kim Severson covered this delicious Hot Quail recipe by Saltine’s Jesse Houston. This recipe was created for Cornish hens or chicken, but “when quail is in season, (Jesse) pays tribute to local hunters, including his father-in-law, by adapting the recipe to the game bird” says Kim.


1 tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. kosher salt, divided
4 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp. Tabasco
1/4 cup dill-pickle juice
4 semi-boneless quail, quartered
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
Canola oil, for frying
Nashville-Style Hot Sauce (recipe below)
8 slices white bread
1/2 cup Black Pepper Ranch, plus extra for dipping (recipe below)
Sliced dill pickles, for garnish

Images by Johnny Autry

Nashville-Style Hot Sauce

4 tbsp. cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. chile powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cup canola oil

Black Pepper Ranch

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
1 1/4 tsp. finely chopped fresh chives
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh dill
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. black pepper

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon pepper, 2 table-spoons salt, eggs, buttermilk, Tabasco, and pickle juice. Add quail pieces and marinate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, 1½ teaspoons pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and remaining salt. Set aside.
  3. When ready to fry, heat 2 inches of oil in a cast-iron skillet to 350°F. Remove quail pieces from marinade. Dredge legs in seasoned flour, return to marinade, coat once more with seasoned flour, and then fry pieces about 5 minutes. Repeat with breasts, cooking to medium-rare, about 3 minutes. Remove quail from pan, blot with paper towels, and add to a bowl of Nashville-Style Hot Sauce to coat generously.
  4. On a large platter, arrange slices of white bread and top with fried and sauced quail. Drizzle Black Pepper Ranch over entire dish and garnish with sliced dill pickles.
  5. For the hot sauce: Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in canola oil until smooth. Set aside.
  6. For the ranch: Whisk ingredients in a mixing bowl until smooth. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.


Will you be trying this seasonal quail recipe? I’d love to see your pictures – share them with us on Facebook or Instagram.