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Quail Marinade + Tenderloin Marinade: Hunting for the Salad Course

Welcome to part two of my three part dinner series…

After we brought  the hogs back to the ranch, Tim put them in a walk-in cooler. After debating, we decided to have the tenderloins for dinner rather than wait to let them age. So we brought them into the kitchen and got them ready for a marinade.

My friend Paul, is quite the gourmand, and he was in charge of the cooking while the rest of us were in charge of the hunting. Paul has a fabulous blog called Food Crunch, where his humor and passion for good ingredients shines.

We marinated the hog tenderloin with some special Nomu spices Paul brought. They gave the meat a smokey aroma and flavor which I loved.

Then Paul added Yuzu juice, an intensely aromatic Japanese citrus that thrilled me.

Then a very good olive oil. Then we put it into the fridge to let it cool until dinner time. We also debated whether or not to wrap it in bacon when we finally cooked it because wild pig has a low fat content which causes it to dry out quickly…

And while we mulled that over we went back into the mountains to look for some quail to go on the salad course for dinner…

Our goal was to find one for each of our seven dinner guests. And though there weren’t many quail at first we finally found a group or two, and managed to get exactly seven!

I’m trying to get better at identifying birds. Quail make a very distinctive fluttering coo and they scurry along the ground before they begin to fly. So that makes them more identifiable. Bird hunting is an exercise in snap decisions, and decisiveness which is always a good thing to practice. You pick one and commit to it; never second guess yourself or the opportunity is lost.

Many people “breast” small birds, meaning they take just the breast meat since the rest is so hard to clean. I tend to be a purist though, I like to try to do something with the whole animal.

This of course makes me unpopular with people who have to pluck tiny little feathers with me… But I think the taste is worth it, and so is the knowledge that you used every part of the animal.

This is what the shotshell looks like for the quail… it’s a good idea to take these out as you’re cleaning the birds so your guests don’t break a tooth!

We took the quail back to the kitchen where we dunked them in warm water to remove the remaining feathers.

Then Paul put together a quick marinade of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic and popped them in the fridge til dinner.

Stay tuned for scenes from the feast! In the meantime, here are two recipes for marinades:

“Quail & Tenderloin Marinade”

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 5 minutes


For the Quail Marinade:

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Good olive oil
  • Chopped garlic
  • Chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper

For the Tenderloin Marinade:

  • Yuzu Juice
  • Nomu spices smoked paprika, or some other smoky seasoning
  • Good olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • Combine your meat with these ingredients in a large zip lock bag or in a bowl covered in plastic and refrigerate for several hours. Remove the meat, pat dry and proceed with cooking.


  • BRubio
    Posted November 11, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I love quail! It’s especially good wrapped in bacon.

  • Peter Gabriel
    Posted November 11, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    That Quail looks delicious. And so much better when it comes from the fruit of your labors.

  • Emily
    Posted November 11, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    I am so inspired by what an honest meat eater you are. It is better to eat meat that had a happy life than meat that comes from a feedlot. Keep up the good work!

  • Freddy
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 8:16 am

    I read the other day that some people age their game birds. Pretty interesting.

  • BRubio
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 8:17 am

    I want to get some game birds and raise them for dinner. I think that would be fun.

  • BRubio
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Also have to add that pheasant is my favorite. Though we don’t see it much.

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