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Fried Quail, Nashville Style

Garden and Gun

Do you have some quail in your freezer? Spice up your night with fried quail covered in black pepper ranch sauce. 

They like it hot down south. Jesse Houston, a chef originally hailing from Texas, currently runs a restaurant called Saltine in Jackson, Mississippi. Yet, his most famous dishes are inspired from his trips to Nashville.

These dishes are hot, the really spicy hot. He wanted to use a different bird than chicken and decided to put quail on his menu, when in season.

Try this delicious Southern recipe the next time you cook quail. You have been warned as far as spiciness goes.

Hot Quail with Black Pepper Ranch

(Serves 4)


1 tbsp. fresh ground pepper (will be portioned)

3 tbsp. kosher salt (will be portioned)

4 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

2 tbsp. Tabasco

1/4 cup dill-pickle juice

4 quail, quartered

4 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp. onion powder

Canola oil

Slices of white bread


Whisk a tablespoon of the pepper, 2 tablespoons of the salt, eggs, buttermilk, Tabasco, and pickle juice. Add the quail and marinate overnight (or at least for a few hours).

In a separate bowl, combine flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and the rest of the salt.

Heat two inches of oil in a cast iron skillet (350 degrees). Dip the quail into the flour mixture, then the marinade, and then back into the flour. Fry for about five minutes on each side.

Nashville-Style Hot Sauce


4 tbsp. cayenne pepper

2 tbsp. dark brown sugar

1 tsp. chile powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. paprika

1 cup canola oil


Combine all the dry ingredients. Slowly whisk in the oil.

Black Pepper Ranch


1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

1 1/4 tsp. chopped chives

1 tsp. chopped dill

2 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp. black pepper


Whisk all the ingredients together. Refrigerate for an hour before using for dipping sauce.

Garden and Gun

Put the quail in the Nashville hot sauce and soak generously. Serve with white bread slices, dill pickle slices and the ranch sauce either to dip or drizzle on top.


Recipe from Garden and Gun

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Fried Quail, Nashville Style