Grilled Quail with Alabama White Barbecue Sauce

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Readily available in most supermarkets, quail packs a lot of flavor for such a diminutive bird. It also makes a divine alternative to traditional barbecue chicken if you’ve got a smaller crowds due to COVID19 this year. To give the bird a bit of  Southern flair,  they are brushed it with a traditional Alabama White barbecue sauce; its tanginess and subtle spice is a fine foil to the slightly gamey flavor of the birds.

Quail only requires a short amount of cooking time over high heat to reach the proper doneness of medium rare. Since the bird has so little natural fat, cooking beyond medium-rare runs the risk of developing a grainy texture in the meat.

Alabama white sauce was made famous by Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama. Alabama white sauce is mayonnaise based, instead of tomato based, which gives it a great creamy flavor profile. Smoked chicken may be the most famous vessel for transporting this delicious, tangy and smooth sauce into your mouth, but it’s just the beginning! Alabama white sauce is incredibly versatile and has become a BBQ staple sauce for good reason. It offers the ideal balance of flavors to enhance all types of smoked or grilled meats and vegetables. If you are looking to change up your taste buds during this summer of grilling, try the white sauce on ribs or smoked turkey. You ca also use it as a tangy vegetable dip or use it as a dressing for cole slaw!

As an alternative, please feel free to use your favorite bottled barbecue sauce for this dish, to keep things easy. You can also prepare the quail indoors, in the oven, using a grill pan.

Serves 3 to 4

Ingredients:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons water
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, divided use
1/2 teaspoon onion powder, divided use
Freshly ground black pepper
Hot sauce
2 packs Semi-Boneless Quail, spatchcocked
½ teaspoon smoked paprika

Directions:
To make the white sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, brown sugar, mustard, horseradish and vinegar until completely smooth. Whisk in water, Worcestershire sauce, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and a few dashes of hot sauce.

Transfer to a lidded jar. Use immediately or let set in the refrigerator for 24 hours to let the flavors meld together.  The sauce will  keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator. 

Bring quail out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you start cooking. Preheat a lightly oiled grill to medium-high.

Pat quail dry with paper towels. Season with salt, pepper, remaining ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ onion powder, and smoked paprika.

Place the quail on the grill breast side down, a few inches apart. Grill for about 3 minutes then carefully turn over and continue to grill until birds are just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes more.The internal temperature of the bird should read between 120 and 125° F on the meat thermometer.

Remove to a platter to rest for 5 minutes.

Dress with sauce and serve immediately with extra sauce on the side.

Cook’s Note:
Sauce can be made a day ahead if desired.

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