I’ve said for years that grilling doves is the best way to cook them. I might be wrong. Slow and low barbecued doves may just be better.
For many, the Labor Day weekend means dove hunting and doves cooked outdoors. September 1 is the traditional opening of dove season everywhere there is one, and grilled doves or dove poppers are traditional fare.
But slow and low, real-deal barbecue? Even I never thought of it, until recently.
What got me thinking is the new smoker I have been using. It’s less of a grill and more of a smoker and barbecue pit extraordinaire. I’ve been slow barbecuing all kinds of thing on it, and I love how easy it is to get really good results. So why not doves?
Why not indeed. The technique is stupid easy: Salt your doves as they come out of the fridge, paint once with the barbecue sauce of your choice, then stick them in a covered grill away from direct heat. Cover the grill and shoot for a temperature of about 200°F. Hold this for about an hour to 90 minutes. Paint with your BBQ sauce several times in this process.
Take your barbecued doves out, slather once more and get after it!
What sauce to use? Really any barbecue sauce you want. I used a Korean BBQ sauce here, and it works really well. It has a couple semi-unusual ingredients, but nothing I can’t find at my local supermarket. The “weirdest” thing is the gochujang, the Korean chile paste. You can buy gochujang online, however.
The biggest difference between barbecued doves and grilled ones is tenderness. The slow and low technique produces the most tender birds I’ve ever eaten. And if you cook them slow enough, you get that cool smoke ring you see in barbecued brisket. Tender, smokey, sticky-spicy-sweet. You will absolutely eat more doves than you think possible with this recipe.
I guarantee it.
OTHER GREAT DOVE RECIPES
I have 25 dove recipes here on Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, ranging from bacon-wrapped doves to dove enchiladas. Some great Labor Day grilling or barbecue options include:
- Doves la Mancha. An irresistible Spanish preparation that has become one of my signature dishes.
- Grilled doves Cajun style. Super easy with a Louisiana flair.
- Smoked doves bathed in a Mexican guajillo sauce. Rich and only moderately spicy.
- Grilled doves with an Arizona desert inspired barbecue sauce.
If you liked this recipe, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below; I’d love to hear how everything went. If you’re on Instagram, share a picture and tag me at huntgathercook.
Barbecued Doves with Korean BBQ Sauce
- 16 to 20 doves, preferably whole and plucked
KOREAN BBQ SAUCE
- 1/4 cup Korean gochujang chile paste
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup lime juice or rice vinegar
- Mix all the ingredients for the barbecue sauce together in a blender and puree until smooth. This can be made up to a week in advance. You might want to double the recipe, as it's amazing and goes well on any grilled or barbecued food.
- Salt the doves well, inside and out. Paint with the BBQ sauce. Get your grill ready, making a spot where there are no coals so you can cook over indirect heat. You want a smokey fire, so have some wood chips handy. If you're using a smoker, set it to 200F.
- Set the doves breast side up in the grill, cover it and cook slowly until the legs will come off easily when pulled, anywhere from 1 hour to 90 minutes. Paint with the BBQ sauce every 30 minutes or so.
Tobias Chapman says
Made these last night and they were delicious. Used some store bought bbq sauce as we got back from our bike ride late and I didn’t have time to make any.
Looking forward to leftovers and next years season
This will happen in the Capay Valley this Saturday afternoon. Guarantee it. Thanks, Hank.
This is an amazing website! Thanks for the news ideas!
Tony Burgess says
I’ve only hunted dove once before, and I can attest that plucking them is easy-peasy. I disapprove of breasting-out, whether doves, ducks, or turkeys, it’s wasteful and borderline unethical IMO. I say if you kill the animal you gotta do the work to make yourself worthy of the life you’ve taken. That means eating/using as much of it as possible. So even if they were harder to pluck, I would. But they’re easy.
Daryl Salayards says
Hank, I am in awe of your skills and recipes, not to mention your shooting skills looking at that harvest – not a pellet in the meat! But c’mon man, you don’t really expect us to pluck a mourning dove do you?
Hank Shaw says
Daryl: I can and I do! It is SUPER easy! Here’s the video we do on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APetMMb1Z7M Seriously, once you get your groove on it takes only about 90 seconds to pick one. Drink a swig of beer, pick a dove. Drink another swig of beer, pick another. That’s how I do it!