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Grilled Doves a La Mancha

grilled doves Spanish style

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

This is a simple, satisfying way to get into some doves. Doves are so easy to pluck that you should really be ashamed of yourself if you don’t — I can pluck one in less than a minute when I get my groove on. Besides, gnawing on the little legs is primal and slightly naughty; they are very little birds, after all.

Spanish smoked paprika is integral to this dish. Many good supermarkets offer it, but you can also buy it online from Earthy Delights.

Figure on 2-3 doves per person for a light lunch or an appetizer, or 3-5 for a main course. I can eat more than this, but then again I am something of a glutton. I will give you a recipe for 4 people.

  • 12 doves
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 12 sage leaves
  • Spanish smoked paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • About 1/4 cup melted bacon fat
  1. Rub the doves with olive oil and salt them well. Stuff each cavity with a sage and a bay leaf.
  2. Grill over medium-high to high heat with the breast side up for 6-8 minutes. Do not let them char!
  3. Turn them over and grill for 4-6 minutes. Paint them with the bacon fat.
  4. Turn the doves on their sides and grill for 1-2 minutes — for each side. Paint with more bacon fat.
  5. Remove to a platter and paint with the remaining bacon fat. Dust with the smoked paprika and the black pepper. Let them rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Eat with your fingers and serve with a Rioja red wine, a California Pinot Noir or an Italian Barbaresco — and a bowl to put the bones in.

More Dove and Pigeon Recipes

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15 responses to “Grilled Doves a La Mancha”

  1. Aaron

    Do you know where I can buy some dove meat online?

  2. The Food Plot: The Hunter Angler Gardener Cook’s ‘Grilled Doves a La Mancha’ |

    [...] recipe for simple, tasty grilled doves. But first, you need to get yourself a mess of 12 doves! See Photo by Holly A. [...]

  3. Now is your chance to meet Hank Shaw! | Nose To Tail At Home

    [...] great Provencal Fish Bisque with saffron, a herbed wild boar sausage, Hank’s version of Doves a La Mancha done with local quail (see below), and a blueberry sorbet based off his mulberry [...]

  4. Isn’t it Ironic? | Operation Delta Duck

    [...] with me and to ask the best way to cook a dove. Then I followed her partner/superstar game chef Hank Shaw’s recipe as close as could, but stuffed the dove with rosemary, the only bright fresh spice I had. I served [...]

  5. Now is your chance to meet Hank Shaw! | Nose To Tail At Home

    [...] great Provencal Fish Bisque with saffron, a herbed wild boar sausage, Hank’s version of Doves a La Mancha done with local quail (see below), and a blueberry sorbet based off his mulberry sorbet. Photo by [...]

  6. jimmy

    im going to attempt this with skinned breasts, wish i would have plucked them instead ill let you know how they turn out

  7. Rick

    Unbeleiveable.. Killed 6 doves yesterday and decided to try this recipe.
    I’ve roasted doves in the oven but grilling really works well. The spanish
    smoked pimenton pairs well with the flavor of the dove. The only thing I did
    differently was to bruise the bayleaf and sage (both fresh) and
    to wrap some very thin bacon around the doves because
    I have a very hard mouthed dog. Started with melon and
    figs fresh from the garden with prosciutto and home
    grown tomatoes. Served the dove with roasted beets and balsamico.
    Nothing so satisfying than to serve a meal where
    everything grown or wild. (ok I bought the wine and bread and pimenton ..)
    reasts were pink, legs crunchy Not sure I’ll cool the any other way.

  8. When life gives you wild game… | Nose To Tail At Home

    [...] next morning I started to prepare the Dove for grilling “La Mancha” style. I rubbed the dove with olive oil and salted it well. Then the cavity was stuffed with a sage and a [...]

  9. Dove season is weeks away, try this: - IAWaterfowlers


  10. Itching for Dove Season | Tremendous whatnot

    [...] Despite the inherent dangers I am pumped about the upcoming season.  Its a chance to pull the trigger, teach my boys those important lessons about hunting and life and I love to cook those birds.  Here’s my favorite recipe, bar none the best I’ve tried. [...]

  11. HUNTING5150

    Definetly my favorite Dove recipe, so far. I am just beginning with harvesting and cooking wild game, but this recipe was easy and the family really liked it.
    You converted me from just “breasting” to plucking these little guys. It was easy to do, but maybe you can include a little direction in how to clean/gut them after they are plucked. It wasn’t hard to figure out, but I’m sure other newbies would find it helpful.
    Again, thanks for the recipe, and yes, those little legs and wings were my favorite part.

  12. chris

    this is a good video demonstrating how to clean a rock dove (feral pidgeon) or mourning dove. the example used here is a european wood pidgeon, so it is larger than a rock or morning dove, but the procedure is the same.

  13. James

    Why, Hank, must my state have no season for mourning doves? It is these days that make a sad New Jersey hunter.

  14. Wayne Boyd

    This is by a long passing shot the best dove recipe I have ever used. Absolutely delicious!

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