Inspired by Ferenc Horvath’s Bricked Chicken Recipe

While you can make this with pre-ground spices, I strongly urge you to use the whole cinnamon, seeds and peppercorns for the most authentic, fresh and intense flavor in this grilled quail recipe!

  •  1 stick cinnamon,broken in half
  • 1 T. whole cumin seeds
  • 1 T. whole coriander seeds
  • 1/4 t. whole black peppercorns
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 T. paprika
  • 1/2 t. ground cayenne
  • 2 t. ground ginger
  • 1 t. French sea salt
  • 2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped coarsely
  • 1 T. finely chopped or crushed garlic
  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 semi-boneless quail – Semi-boneless quail (with the rib cage removed but the leg bones still intact) are a bit easier to eat than unboned quail but you can certainly use whole quail for this quail recipe as well. I don’t recommend trying to bone your own quail unless you have a lot of time as this is a difficult and very time-consuming process. Trust me, I know from experience!
  • Lemon wedges
  • skewers (optional but makes grilling easier) and an electric coffee/spice grinder.

1.         Place both halves of the cinnamon stick along with the cumin, coriander, peppercorns and cloves together in the spice grinder. If you don’t have a coffee grinder you can use for this quail recipe, you can also grind the spices by hand with a mortar and pestle, although this can be difficult for the cinnamon. You want to get the spices to a fine powder.

2.         Transfer the ground spices to a bowl and add the paprika, cayenne pepper, ginger, salt, chopped cilantro, garlic and olive oil. Mix thoroughly.

3.         Add the quail and rub all the surfaces of the birds with the mixture. Cover tightly or seal in a large plastic bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours. The quail can withstand even longer, up to overnight, if you prefer to make this ahead.

4.         Prepare your grill so that you can cook over medium-hot temperature. You can use either direct heat or indirect heat because either way the quail will cook fast because of their small size. If you prefer to grill indoors you can also use a stovetop grill or grill pan. I prefer to cook over relatively high direct heat so that you can get some nice grill marks in the short time it takes to cook. Just watch your quail throughout the cooking time to avoid burning.

5.         If you prefer to use skewers to aid turning your quail, soak wooden skewers in water for about an hour. Then arrange 2 quail at a time side by side with legs toward you. Thread a skewer through the drumsticks and lower body of the quail, followed by a second skewer parallel to the first through the wings and upper body. Leave quail about 1 inch or so apart. Repeat for the rest of the quail. Alternately you can grill the quail separately, it will just take a bit more work getting the quail on and off the grill quickly.

6.         Lightly oil your grill grate, season the quail with additional salt, to your preference, and grill.

7.         Grill a total of only about 5 or 6 minutes, turning once halfway through the cooking time. Don’t overcook or your quail will dry out quickly!

8.         Serve this quail recipe with lemon wedges to add some citrus tang to the flavors.