Teriyaki is one of the most beloved flavors in the American hunting world, and there is a reason: It is sweet, salty and flavorful all at the same time, and the caramelization you get on something grilled with teriyaki sauce is wonderful.
My version of teriyaki doves is taken from traditional Japanese teriyaki, which is most often done with chicken. You marinate the doves (or squab, pigeon, teal, snipe or quail) in the sauce, reduce the sauce to a glaze, then grill the birds, basting with the sauce.
You can also slow barbecue your teriyaki doves by putting them in a grill, covered, set around 225°F for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Baste every 15 minutes.
I add a little extra zip with some sesame oil and sesame seeds at the end. Serve with a salad of whatever happens to be in your garden or is fresh at the moment, along with some steamed rice.
This recipe can be doubled or halved.
This recipe calls for homemade teriyaki sauce, which I think is better, but you can of course use a store-bought teriyaki sauce. The longer you marinate the doves in the sauce, the stronger tasting and saltier they will get. I like to keep them in the marinade only an hour.
- 1/4 cup sake
- 1/4 cup mirin (a Japanese sweet wine)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice or rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon corn starch (optional)
- 12 doves or 4 pigeons
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Sesame oil to coat doves
- sesame seeds (optional)
Mix the sake, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar in a pot. Heat just to the point where the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and let cool. Submerge the birds in the marinade -- breast side down -- for up to an hour.
Put the marinade in a small pot and boil it down until it gets syrupy. Alternatively, you can mix the corn starch with a little water and add that to the boiling sauce to thicken it. Either way, add lime juice to taste.
Get your grill nice and hot. Scrape down the grates and close the lid. Wet a paper towel with the vegetable oil and, using tongs, wipe down the grill grates. Paint the birds with sesame oil and put them breast side up on the grill, close the lid and cook over high heat for 4 minutes. Up this to 5-6 minutes for pigeon or squab.
- Open the lid and paint the doves with the reduced marinade. Turn them on their sides and paint the exposed side. Grill over high heat (with the cover open) that way for another 1-2 minutes, or until the sides are nicely grilled. Repeat on the other side.
- Finally, turn the doves breast side down on the grill and paint the tops. Grill for another 2-3 minutes (cover open), or until the skin is browned.
Remove from heat, paint one more time with the marinade, and let cool for 5 minutes. To serve, sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and have at it!