Roast Quail

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:

    4 to 8


Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About

Wild bird and game hunting seems to be to a great degree regional. It is a popular sport in the West and Southwest, in certain parts of the North, and particularly throughout the South. Quail figured often on the tables of my childhood, and it was an integral part of Christmas-morning breakfast. It is a thought that is essentially romantic but I invariably think of quail as a Southern staple.


  • 8 cleaned quail (¼ pound each)
  • Salt to taste, if desired
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 thin slices lean fatback, each slice sufficiently large to amply cover a quail breast
  • 3 tablespoons water


  • Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
  • Sprinkle the quail with salt and pepper. Grease a metal baking pan with the butter and arrange the quail on their backs in the dish. Cover each quail with fatback.
  • Bake 10 minutes. Remove but reserve each piece of fatback. Brush the quail with pan drippings, then cover once more with fatback. Do not turn the quail. Bake 5 minutes longer and remove the fatback. Bake 3 minutes longer.
  • Transfer the quail to serving dishes.
  • Place the baking pan on top of the stove and add the water. Simmer, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to dissolve the brown particles that cling to the bottom and sides. Spoon the pan drippings over the birds and serve.