Jody Horton

Jesse Griffiths' Hot Fried Birds

I like to pluck doves, not just take the breasts. You took the time to drive to the lease, so take some time to pluck a few doves while the sun goes down on your post-hunt celebration. While dove poppers like Carter’s are beloved, try stews, dumplings, pot pies or even frying them with a spicy glaze, like my Hot Fried Birds.


12 whole doves, plucked and gutted (I have been assured, though cannot confirm, that plucking a dove is not difficult)

1 cup buttermilk

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups all-purpose flour

oil or lard, for frying

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 tablespoons honey

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 tablespoons hot sauce

4 thinly sliced jalapeños

1/4 cup fresh herb leaves, such as parsley or marjoram


Halve the birds by cutting down one side of the breastbone and through the ribs with a sharp, heavy knife. Repeat on the opposite side, effectively removing the breastbone. Soak the halves in buttermilk for 4 to 12 hours in the refrigerator.

Remove the birds from the buttermilk, season well with salt and pepper, and dredge in flour. Shake off the excess flour and refrigerate them for at least half an hour.

Heat 4 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a fryer or large pot.

Melt the butter, then combine it with the honey, garlic, and hot sauce in a large bowl.

Fry the birds in batches until golden brown and crisp, 3 or 4 minutes. Drain well on paper towels.

Toss the fried birds with the melted-butter mixture, add the jalapeños and herbs, and transfer to a plate. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.




Adapted from Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish, by Jesse Griffiths. Welcome Books. © 2012 Jesse Griffiths.