nashville hot fried quail recipe
Keep a cold drink close by, because the recipe is red hot—and so delicious. Get the recipe for Nashville Hot Fried Quail. Photograph by Christina Holmes / Food and Prop Styling by Roscoe Betsill

Sure, the ingredient list here might look intimidating, but don’t let that stop you. This is an easy—and addictively hot—­recipe. A bowl of creamy coleslaw will help ease the burn between bites—as will copious swigs of Stillwater Extra Dry.

You Will Need


  • 12 whole quail
  • Beef tallow, lard, or
  • peanut oil for frying

For the dunk

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • 11⁄2 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Tabasco
  • 11⁄4 cups club soda

For the dredge

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1⁄4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. paprika

For the hot-spice fat

  • 1 lb. lard
  • 3 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1⁄2 tsp. malt vinegar powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp. habanero powder
  • 1 cup canola oil

For the hot-spice dust

  • 1 Tbsp. Szechuan powder
  • 1 Tbsp. habanero powder
  • 1 Tbsp. ground Aleppo pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper


  1. Heat the oil to 350 degrees.

  2. Combine all of the dunk ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine all of the dredge ingredients.

  3. Dunk the quail into the wet batter, turning and flipping to ensure full coverage. Then go straight into the dry dredge.

  4. Working in batches, place the quail in the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Remove the quail and set on paper towels.

  5. Meanwhile, warm the lard over low heat, then add the remaining ingredients to the lard to make the hot-spice fat. In a separate bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the hot-spice dust.

  6. Submerge the quail into the seasoned fat. Allow the quail to drain briefly once more on paper towels. Dust the quail with a generous helping of the hot-spice dust.