We were contacted directly by Nathan at KungFuBBQ as he wanted a box of quail to try this recipe for paprika rubbed, cold smoked quails he had found by Ben Tish – when he posted the photos to Instagram and Twitter we were, as always, amazed by the treatment that a cook had given our quails to turn them into a mouthwatering dish.

Thank you to Ben Tish for allowing us to share this recipe with you from his book Grill Smoke BBQ

  • A cold-smoking device, some oak wood chips.
  • 2 large quails, spatchcocked
  • 3 medium onions, finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons of dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of smoked hot paprika
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • Olive Oil, for cooking
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
Place the quails in a non-reactive bowl and pour over the brine. Cover and leave in the fridge for 1 hour, then drain and pat dry with a paper towel.

Set up the cold-smoking device in the barbecue with the wood chips and get it going. Lay the quails, skin-side up, on the grill, then close the lid and vent of the barbecue and cold-smoke for 2 hours. Transfer the quails to a clean tray or plate, cover and leave in the fridge to rest for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Light the barbecue and set for direct/indirect cooking.

Place a medium saucepan in the indirect heat zone, then add a lug of olive oil, along with the onions and sugar. Cook slowly for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and varying the heat as necessary, until soft and lightly caramelized. When the onions are done, move the pan to the edge of the barbecue to keep warm.

Rub the quails with olive oil, season and then rub them with smoked paprika. Lay the quails, skin-side down, on the grill in the direct heat zone and cook for 3 minutes until the skin starts to crisp and lightly char. Turn over and cook for a further 3 minutes, then move to the indirect heat zone and rest for 2 minutes. The quail meat should still be slightly pink.

Squeeze over some lemon juice, then cut each quail in half lengthwise. Serve with the caramelized onions and a dollop of alioli.