Remove the bones from your upland birds to make stuffing and eating a breeze.
I love upland game birds. And, since they tend to cook quickly and at lower temperatures than their barnyard chicken and turkey cousins, I love to stuff them with various mixtures. But upland birds, quail in particular, are kind of small and difficult to eat when cooked whole. The ribs and bones make it hard to reach the tasty stuffing, too.
The solution? Debone the bird without cutting it open. Then you can pack it full of tasty stuffing and cook to your liking. It sounds harder than it is. After you've done a few, it only takes a few minutes per bird. Larger birds like grouse and pheasant are easier than quail, but the method is the same for all. Don't worry if you tear the skin on the back of the bird. Young quail are especially prone to tearing. I've deboned a lot of birds and I am happy if I can get 4 out of 10 quail deboned without tearing the skin. If you do tear it, simply use toothpicks to pin the bird together after stuffing.
Start with a plucked, skin-on bird. The skin will hold everything together once the bones are out. For this article, we did a few quail to be stuffed with wild rice, sausage and mushrooms, then grilled. Recipe to follow on the next Timber2Table blog post.
Don't toss the bones once you are finished. Freeze them and use the bones from several batches to make homemade stock for future recipes.
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