BBQ Dove

BBQ is one of my favorite ways to do any small gamebird, and I just discovered it as a wild game technique this year! The following recipe was applied to doves, but works equally as well on woodcock, grouse, pidgeon or any other small game bird you’ve harvested, regardless of whether or not it contains white or dark meat.

BBQ Dove over a bed of homemade coleslaw. -photo © Nick Schneeman

Ingredients –
– game birds
– salt, pepper and garlic powder
– BBQ sauce of your choice (I prefer Sweet Baby Ray’s, particularly the Sweet and Spicy sauce)
– coleslaw (either hommade or store bought)

Step one, go get some game birds (or bone-in quail or game hens from the grocery if you’re not the hunting type)! This is a super easy recipe, and thus lends itself well to dove when you’ve got a whole bunch to prepare. Thats what I’m rolling with. Pluck your bird! This recipe is a million times better if you leave the skin on. It’ll work with a skinned bird, but it won’t impress your friends.

Salt, pepper and garlic powder your birds. Heavily. Focusing primarily on the breast and legs. Throw your birds on a plate and stick em back in the refridgerator uncovered for at least an hour. I’ll often leave them over night.

Fire up your grill nice and hot, at least 400 degrees, mines usually around 600. Your goal here is to sear the birds on the grill. Doves especially are super easy to over cook. Start the cook breast down for a minute or two to get some grilll marks going. As soon as it starts blackening flip it over and hit it with a healthy amount of bbq sauce. Once the sauce has started to carmelize and blacken the birds are done.

Perfectly cooked to medium rare and propped up by some delicious slaw. -photo © Nick Schneeman


Let the birds rest on a cutting board for about five minutes. To plate, halve each dove with a sharp kitchen knife or cleaver, splitting it directly down the center of the breast. Make a small pile of coleslaw to match the size of your bird, and plop the bird on top of the slaw! Bon apetit! A half bird is a great appetizer serving size. For a more full meal, serve two doves per person, and roast some taters on the grill to fill out the meal!


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