Southern Fried Quail Recipe

An adaptation of a popular New South preparation for fried chicken

By: Scott Leysath, "The Sporting Chef"

(Photo courtesy of “The Sporting Chef”)

(Photo courtesy of “The Sporting Chef”)



  • 4 quail
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk or whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco or Texas Pete
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • White bread and sliced pickles (for serving)



1. Toss quail with black pepper and half of the salt. Cover and chill at least 3 hours.

2. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Whisk flour and remaining salt in another large bowl.

3. Fit a Dutch oven with thermometer; pour in oil to measure 2 inches. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 325°. Pat quail dry. Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess, then dip in buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl. Dredge again in flour mixture and place on a baking sheet.

4. Fry quail, turning occasionally, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp. Transfer to a clean wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Let oil cool slightly.

5. Whisk cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika in a medium bowl; carefully whisk in 1/4 cup frying oil. Brush fried quail with spicy oil. Serve with bread and pickles.

(Photo courtesy of “The Sporting Chef”)

(Photo courtesy of “The Sporting Chef”)