Have you ever wanted to learn how to make smoked quail? Well, I have been smoking quail for many years now and it is quite easy and even in the smoker, only takes about an hour of your time to complete.

If you want to brine the quail, I recommend a buttermilk brine which does them a lot of good.

Buttermilk Brine

  • 1/2 gallon buttermilk
  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 1 cup kosher salt

Mix salt and water together until the water returns to clear. Add the buttermilk and mix will. Place the quail in a ziploc bag and pour the buttermilk brine over them to cover.

If you don’t have a lot of quail, you can half the recipe.

Let the quail brine for about 2 hours.

Rinse the brine from them under cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel.

Place them in a foil pan with skin side up.


Sprinkle my rub on them for great results or you can use a plain salt/pepper mixture made of half kosher salt and half coarse pepper.


Place the entire pan in the smoker at 225 degrees.

Quail usually take about an hour or so but the problem is that the legs usually get done before the breast does so you can wrap the legs in bacon to slow things down a bit in that area. I have seen folks wrap the entire quail in bacon but in my opinion this is not necessary.

I often smoke them with no bacon wrap at all and I keep the temperature at about 225. They are tender, delicious and very juicy.


Tip: If you have my book entitled “Smoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue” find my very own recipe for Cuban Mojo and spoon that over the  quail generously before placing them in the smoker. You’ll be amazed at how good it is!

Here’s a picture of it:


About the Author

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!

9 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Kyle April 7, 2015 at 2:02 am - Reply

    Will this same recipe work well for pheasant? Are there any modifications would you make for pheasant?


  2. Brandon Hawkins December 25, 2014 at 9:05 am - Reply

    Just wanted to say thanks for all the help Jeff!!! You have helped our family enjoy Thanksgiving & Christmas dinners a lot more!! Hope Yall have a great x-mas!!!

  3. Brandon April 8, 2014 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    What flavor of wood chips for quail? Thanku!!

  4. chris February 17, 2014 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    You don’t say in the quail receipe how long to cook @ 225 degrees, need to know, thanks for the help.chris

    • Jeff Phillips February 17, 2014 at 3:49 pm - Reply

      Should take about 1 hour or so at 225°F

  5. Chris March 29, 2013 at 11:46 am - Reply

    Hey I noticed you said skin side up. We always skin ours. Would the same procedure apply. We've raise these birds since hatching and don't wanna waste any. Thanks for your help. 

  6. Kenneth Wylie March 10, 2013 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    When I tried to get your icon for my iPad I lost the link when I clicked on it are you going to offer this again as I would really like to have this icon and app thank you

  7. Bud Hartman March 7, 2013 at 9:49 am - Reply

    Hi Jeff,

    I got started about a year ago with a Brinkmann electric water smoker and in my humble opinion it's perfect for beginners. Available at Home Depot for about $70 and HD has a reasonably good selection of wood to get your started. And it's easy to use.

    Please do a review with your comments. I think the Brinkmann is a good way to get people started……. 

    Love the news letter, I have a three ring binder with tips, tricks, and recipes from you and family & friends from Texas and Georgia.

    I tried smoking some King Fish steaks to make some smoked fish dip and it was awesome!

    Best regards,

    Bud Hartman, Ft Lauderdale Fl and the Fl Keys.


    • Jeff Phillips March 8, 2013 at 7:46 pm - Reply

      I have one of those that I still use occasionally. I will try to get a page written about it soon.

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