Reata's Smoked Quail with Sweet Molasses Glaze


by gmt

Posted on May 3, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 3 at 1:25 PM


Smoked Quail with sweet molasses glaze
Texas men and some Texas gals are hard to find in the city come the last weekend in February, because that’s when quail season ends. Engaged in “the classic gentleman’s sport,” quail hunters are fanatics who spend huge amounts of money on improving habitat so they can hunt these birds without causing harmful environmental impact. Here’s a great way to prepare quail, whether store bought or taken in the field. We really prefer smoking to give substantial flavor throughout the meat, but you can certainly choose to grill instead if you’re short on time. Simply place the coated quail on a medium-high grill for about 10 minutes total, turning once, and skip the frying.
2 teaspoons Reata Grill Spice (page 138)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1⁄4 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
6 quails, semi-boneless
Peanut oil, for frying
3 cups Jalapeño-Cheddar Grits
1 cup Sweet Molasses Glaze
6 green onions, sliced in half, with the tops cut to 2 inches
Heat the smoker to about 250 degrees F. Place the Grill Spice, canola oil, and garlic in a large bowl and mix well. Dredge each quail in the mixture, coating thinly but thoroughly. Place the coated quail in the smoker for about 1 hour. Remove the quail and set aside to cool. When the quail are cool enough to handle, cut each bird in half lengthwise. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
In a cast-iron skillet or deep fryer, heat the frying oil to about 350 degrees F. Fry each quail until it is hot throughout. This won’t take long, about 2 to 3 minutes total, depending on your frying apparatus. Reserve the prepared quail in a baking dish in a warm oven until you’re ready to serve them. Arrange the quail so that each half crosses the other on a bed of the Jalapeño-Cheddar Grits, using about 1⁄2 cup of grits per serving. Drizzle the quail and the grits with Sweet Molasses Glaze. Garnish each serving with 2 green onion strips.
Sweet Molasses Glaze
Makes 1 cup
This glaze is easiest to drizzle when it’s warm, though you certainly can reserve some for other uses as it tastes good on just about everything! It’s excellent with almost any type of meat; just be sure and heat it up a little so it gets a bit runny before you drizzle, dollop, or smother.
1⁄4 cup Karo dark corn syrup
1⁄4 cup ketchup
1⁄4 cup brown sugar
1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar           
Combine all the ingredients in a large stockpot and cook over medium-high heat. Reduce the liquid until it becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer.