Smoked Quail Recipe

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:



  1. Steve robb March 27, 2020 at 11:39 am - Reply

    I would like to know why I stopped getting recipes sent to me. I bought your book and rub and sauce recipes.

    • Jeff Phillips March 27, 2020 at 11:13 pm - Reply

      Steve, I just checked your subscription and we are still sending you the ad-free version of the newsletter. I suspect that it is getting caught up in one of gmail's sorting tabs or perhaps it is going to the spam or junk folder. Do some looking around in the various folders and tabs and if you can find one, use the button at the top to mark it as “Not spam”.

  2. Sandy Houston February 29, 2020 at 11:11 am - Reply

    Thanks so much. I'm going to try this for the quail I was given. You're the best!

  3. Gerald Alford February 18, 2020 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    I must be missing something. After one hour at 225 degrees F, the quail are not anywhere close to cooked. Are the quail supposed to be at room temperature before placing in smoker?

    • Jeff Phillips February 19, 2020 at 1:25 am - Reply

      Gerald, it may be that your quails are larger or fatter. How are you gauging the temperature of your smoker– i.e. are you using a commercial type thermometer at grate level or are you using the factory installed thermometer?

      Remember, the most important thing is that they reach the proper temperature before you remove them from the smoker and call them done even if it takes them longer than stated.

  4. Mario Trettenero December 19, 2018 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    Hello Jeff – really enjoying your recipes, thank you for all the wonderful information, it’s been so much fun experimenting with all of your recipes. I do have a question for you – I have 6 frozen and skinless wild pheasants that I want to smoke, would I approach this smoke the same way the you did with your Quail? Or do you have another process that you would recommend

    Thanks Jeff

    Cheers Mario

  5. Terry Jennings October 29, 2018 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    Where do you sources your quail from?

    • Jeff Phillips October 30, 2018 at 10:36 am - Reply

      Terry, there is a local grocer here in Tulsa that carries them in the frozen department. A few of the other meat stores may carry them as well or at least be able to acquire them.

  6. 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?


  7. 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!!!

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

    What flavor of wood chips for quail? Thanku!!

  9. 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

  10. 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. 

  11. 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

  12. 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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