Carolina Quail

Chef Alan Martin debuts a lowcountry dish at Dyron’s. 

By Jan Walsh    

Photography by Beau Gustafson


He’s back! Alan Martin returned to Birmingham as executive chef of Dyron’s Lowcountry’s in June 2014. When I first learned that Martin was back in Birmingham, I was overjoyed. I reviewed Martin’s cuisine for many years and was very disappointed when he left town in 2009. I knew Birmingham had lost one of its best. But now, after his stint as chef and owner of The Victoria Restaurant in Anniston, he is back. What a catch for Dyron’s, and what a great restaurant for Martin to call home!

Today he shares his recipe and techniques for roast stuffed Carolina quail. Many of the techniques he teaches can also be easily applied in daily home cooking.


4 semi-boneless quail
2 cups cornbread, crumbled
½ cup mirepoix (onions, carrots, celery)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/3 cup butter or pork fat
1 cup poultry stock
4 slices applewood smoked bacon
2 ounces bourbon
1 tablespoon molasses
23cup blackberries
1 cup pecan halves
13 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
¼ tablespoon cayenne pepper
kosher salt


Pecans Procedure:

Melt butter, sugar, ¼ cup water, and cayenne pepper in sauté pan over medium heat. When sugar is dissolved, add pecans and season with salt. Bake at 350 degrees until almost candied. Spread over pan with rack and cool.


Quail Procedure:

Sauté mirepoix in two tablespoons of fat. Add to crumbled cornbread. Add thyme and remaining fat. Remove wing tips from quail. Gently stuff quail with cornbread mixture. Wrap each quail with one slice of bacon. Roast in hot oven at 400 degrees. Remove quail from pan when done. Add bourbon (watch out for flame). Add molasses and poultry broth. Reduce to a glaze. Add blackberries to sauce.


View video demo of this dish at  Try it in the restaurant, then try it at home!

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