Santa Rita Firecracker Quail

Having just returned from an amazing week of wild quail hunting at my good friend's ranch in South Texas, I could hardly wait to dig in to the spoils of the hunt and chow down on some quail, while it was still fresh as could be.

We took a number of birds during our hunt, many of which were plucked and skinned, so they could be roasted or prepared whole. Several were hit harder than others, and so I found myself with breasted and pieced-out birds as well.

I decided to use these birds first and played with a number of ideas.

My wife, Charlene, loves sweet and spicy shrimp, crispy fried and glazed with Thai chili sauce. The name comes from the beautiful South Texas Ranch where the quail roamed wild!

This recipe was an idea of hers, inspired by one of her favorite appetizers. We prepared it as our main course, atop lettuce with a side of homemade fried rice, but it certainly makes a delicious, attractive and easy appetizer for parties or events as well.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


• 1 cup Thai Sweet Chili sauce

• 1 tablespoon Sriracha (or to taste)

• 1 cup mayonnaise

• Juice of 1 lime

• 2 pound of Quail breast (most wild game birds should work nicely)

• 2 cup buttermilk

• 1 cup cornstarch

• salt & pepper to taste

• oil for frying (I used Avocado)

• scallions (chopped)

• black sesame seeds


1. Add the Thai sweet chili sauce, Sriracha, mayonnaise to a bowl and stir.

2. Slowly whisk in lime juice.

3. Let stand to incorporate flavors. Sauce can also be pre-made, and refrigerated. I find

the flavors combine better with some time.

4. Add the Quail and buttermilk to a second bowl.

5. Stir & toss well, making sure the meat is completely coated.

6. In a pie pan or rimmed dish, add the cornstarch, salt and pepper.

7. Add 3 inches of oil to a heavy bottomed pan (Dutch ovens work well)

8. Heat oil to approximately 375 degrees. (over medium heat)

9. One at a time, remove Quail from the buttermilk, and let excess milk drip away for a


10. Dip the Quail into the cornstarch mixture.

11. Place quail into the oil, and fry to a light brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

12. Fry in batches, so oil does not cool, and breasts have plenty of room in the pot.

13. Once fried, toss the breasts in the sauce mixture.

14. Serve over a bed of lettuce, or fried rice.

15. Garnish with chopped scallions & sesame seeds.


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