Dove might not be talked about as one of the most delicious meats, but if you know how to cook these game birds, they could surprise you. They have a flavor unknown to someone who has never tried them. There are many ways you can go about cooking your limit after a hunt but they’re not always easy to find as dove is somewhat of an acquired taste. Here I’ve listed some good ways to introduce new people to eating game meat as well as some things that maybe even frequent hunters haven’t tried.
This is one of my favorite ways to cook dove breasts and while it might not make up an entire meal it will make a great appetizer. You will want to start by de-boning the breasts. This makes it easier to eat especially for people who are not used to eating game meat on a regular basis. Once you have all the breast deboned, use your favorite method for frying chicken to fry the dove. My favorite is a buttermilk batter but you can use any frying method you choose, this is just one way you can make this dish your own. Another is with the sauce. My favorite way to serve these dove bites is tossed in buffalo sauce with a side bleu cheese dressing but you can serve them with ranch or tossed in BBQ sauce, there are many delicious options to choose from.
Another way to fry your birds is to leave them whole and fry them like little turkeys. This is a great way to cook dove for people who are a little more comfortable with eating game meat that they may have not had before. The best way I have seen this done is to lightly batter your birds in cornmeal and drop them into peanut oil.
If you like the flavor of a charcoal grill this might be a good method of cooking for you. I like to split the birds in half and put them in your favorite marinade prior to grilling. This is preferable to only grilling the breasts in my opinion because you get the most out of each of your birds. I also believe that leaving the bones in while grilling adds some extra flavor.
A less common method I have seen that I enjoy is smoking. Smoking dove is a good way to keep the gamey flavor down while infusing the flavor of whatever your wood of choice may be. Most of the time when smoking meats I do not brine them but when I smoke dove I do brine them. You only need some brining salt and cold water to do this and it will give you that beautiful smoked color.
Obviously poppers are a great way to cook your dove meat and I have seen many variations of poppers over the years. If you haven’t ever heard of poppers, the basic recipe is dove breast, cream cheese, and jalapeno all wrapped in bacon. I have seen many variations of this recipe, one of the more interesting ones being the replacement of the jalapeno with a slice of pineapple. I’ve seen people add any variation of hot peppers or different cheeses to this recipe but the one consistent thing across the board is wrapping it in bacon.
Updated on December 6, 2022
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