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Grilled Quail Recipe: A Flavorful and Easy Guide

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Scrumptious homemade Grilled Quail

Grilling quail is a quick and tasty way to enjoy this delicious game bird. It’s perfect for a summer cookout and only requires a few simple steps and ingredients.

You’ll need to marinate the quail to enhance its flavor. Common choices include olive oil, garlic, and herbs like thyme and parsley. After a few hours in the fridge, preheat your grill and get ready to cook.

For that perfect sear, cook the quail over high heat, turning and basting with your favorite sauce. This helps to keep the meat juicy and flavorful. Enjoy a dish that’s both simple to make and impressive to serve!

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

Here’s a list of exact ingredients you’ll need for a tasty grilled quail, along with some possible substitutes if you need them.


  • Quail: About 4 quails.
  • Olive Oil: 3 tablespoons. You can use canola oil as a substitute.
  • Minced Garlic: 2 cloves. Garlic powder can work too.
  • Fresh Herbs: Such as thyme, rosemary, or parsley. Dried herbs are an alternative.
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste.
  • Paprika: 1 teaspoon for a smoky flavor.
  • Buttermilk (optional): For marinating. Yogurt can be used instead.

Other Possible Substitutes:

  • If you don’t have quail, cornish game hens are a good alternative.
  • Instead of paprika, you can try using cayenne pepper for some heat or smoked paprika for extra smokiness.
  • For additional flavor, you can add a splash of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar to the marinade.

Mix your marinade ingredients in a bowl. Let your quail sit in the marinade for at least 3 hours in the fridge. This ensures the flavors soak in well. Remember to bring the quail to room temperature before grilling.

This simple mix of ingredients creates a delicious, rich flavor that enhances the taste of grilled quail.

Setting things up with these ingredients will make your grilling session successful and stress-free. Enjoy your meal!


  1. Prep Your Quail:

    • Spatchcock the quail by removing the backbone.
    • Pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Marinate:

    • In a bowl, mix together:
      • 1/4 cup olive oil
      • 3 minced garlic cloves
      • 2 tbsp lemon juice
      • 1 tsp thyme
      • 1 tsp paprika
      • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Pour the marinade over the quail, ensuring it’s fully coated.
    • Refrigerate: Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours.
  3. Preheat the Grill:

    • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (around 375°F to 400°F).
  4. Grill the Quail:

    • High Heat: Place quail on the grill breast side down. Grill for 5 minutes with the lid closed.
    • Turn and Paint: Flip the quail, paint the cooked side with the marinade, and grill for another 2 minutes with the lid up.
    • Paint regularly with marinade.
  5. Final Cooking:

    • Cover and Cook: Close the grill lid and cook for another 2-4 minutes, making sure the quail is fully cooked.
  6. Serve:

    • Let rest for a few minutes.
    • Enjoy with your favorite side dishes!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

Tip 1: Marinating Time
Marinate your quail for at least 2 hours or overnight. This helps the quail absorb flavors and stay juicy.

Tip 2: Brine for Moisture
Soak quail in a simple brine solution (1/2 gallon water mixed with 1/2 cup coarse salt) for a few hours before grilling. This step keeps the quail moist and tender.

Tip 3: Preheat the Grill
Make sure your grill is preheated to medium-high heat (350-400 degrees) before you place the quail on it. This helps to sear the meat and lock in juices.

Trick 1: Use a Meat Thermometer
Using a meat thermometer ensures your quail reaches the perfect internal temperature of 165°F. This prevents overcooking and dryness.

Trick 2: Baste with Sauce
While grilling, baste the quail with your favorite sauce. This adds flavor and keeps the meat moist.

Trick 3: Let it Rest
After grilling, let the quail rest for a few minutes before serving. This helps the juices redistribute, making the meat more flavorful.

Storing Grilled Quail

  • Refrigerate: Store leftover grilled quail in an airtight container in the fridge. It will last for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: You can freeze grilled quail for up to 3 months. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe container.
  • Reheat: To reheat, place the quail in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes, or until warm.

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

Spicy BBQ Quail: Marinate the quail in a mix of BBQ sauce, paprika, cayenne pepper, and a splash of apple cider vinegar. Grill until lightly charred. Perfect for those who love a bit of heat.

Herb-Marinated Quail: Combine rosemary, thyme, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. Marinate the quail for a couple of hours. This adds a fresh and zesty flavor.

Asian-Style Quail: Use a marinade of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and a dash of sesame oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before grilling for a delicious twist.

Bacon-Wrapped Quail: Wrap each quail in slices of bacon before grilling. This adds a smoky flavor and makes the quail even juicier.

Serving Suggestions:

  1. With Salad: Serve your quail with a light, crisp salad. A mix of greens, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers works well.
  2. On Top of Rice: Lay the grilled quail on a bed of steamed rice or fragrant pilaf.
  3. With Roasted Veggies: Pair the quail with roasted vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, and zucchini.

Sauce Pairings:

  • Garlic Butter Sauce: Melted butter with minced garlic and parsley.
  • Lemon Herb Sauce: Mix lemon juice, olive oil, basil, and mint.
  • Sweet & Tangy Sauce: Blend honey with Dijon mustard and a touch of vinegar.

Feel free to experiment with these variations and serving styles to find your favorite combination!

Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.