Cordoniz a la Barbacoa

Barbecued Quail Marinated in Lemon and Thyme

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Media Racion


Appears in


By Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Published 2007

  • About

I can never barbecue a quail without being reminded of the day dad took mum and me on the back of the scooter to eat in the mountains above C贸rdoba. Wedged between my parents, none of us wearing helmets, we climbed the hills until dad found a suitable place. I remember making the fire with mum and dad, then cleaning the birds and placing them on a greenwood skewer, which was balanced between two forked branches sunk either side of the fire. Dad sat by the fire with a glass of wine and twiddled the stick, rotating the quail a little each time. He dressed the quail with just a little salt. The skin was crispy and the flesh fell away from the bones.


  • 6 quails
  • 2 lemons
  • several pinches of fine sea salt
  • 1 bunch thyme, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced


Spatchcock the birds by cutting along either side of the backbone with kitchen scissors. Remove the backbone and discard (or save for stock in another dish). Put the birds on a clean board, breast side up. Spread them open then flatten them by pressing down hard with the palm of your hand.

Put the quails in a bowl and squeeze over the juice of one lemon. Add the salt, thyme and garlic. Mix, thoroughly covering the quails with the marinade. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

Heat a chargrill, barbecue grill or grill (broiler) to high. Put the quails on the grill, breast side down, and reduce the heat to medium. Squeeze half a lemon over the quails and sprinkle with salt. Cook for 3 minutes then turn the quails, squeeze over the remaining lemon half then sprinkle with salt and cook for a further 3 minutes. Let rest for 2 minutes before serving.