Charcoal-Grilled Stuffed 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

The following is a recipe demonstrated for me by a young master chef from Chapel Hill, North Carolina—Bill Neal, owner and chief cook of the Crook’s Corner Restaurant. I would label it nouveau Southern. It is excellent.


  • 8 cleaned quail (¼ pound each)
  • pound streaky bacon or salt pork, cut into small cubes (about ½ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
  • tablespoons finely diced carrot
  • tablespoons finely diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme, or ¼ teaspoon dried
  • Salt to taste, if desired
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat or corn oil


  • Preheat a charcoal grill until white ash forms on top of the coals.
  • Split each quail neatly along the backbone. Set aside.
  • Put the bacon or salt pork and garlic on a flat surface and chop until almost a paste. Put the mixture in a mixing bowl and add the bread crumbs, carrot, celery, basil, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Blend thoroughly with the fingers.
  • By hand, carefully separate a portion of the breast meat from the bone to form a small pocket. Push equal portions of the stuffing into the cavities. Push any additional stuffing under the skin of the birds, without breaking the skin. Brush the birds all over with bacon fat or oil.
  • Place the quail, skin side down, on the grill and cook until nicely browned on one side, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and press the outer portions together to give the bodies more of their original shape. Let cook 4 to 5 minutes on the second side, or until the desired doneness.