How to cook game birds on a propane grill

How to cook game birds on a propane grill

Grilling game birds on a propane grill can be a delicious way to enjoy the rich flavors of wild game. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do it by Papa Ken at Maine Grilling Products.

Ingredients and Equipment:

  1. Game birds (e.g., quail, pheasant, grouse, or dove)
  2. Marinade or dry rub (optional)
  3. Propane grill with a lid
  4. Propane tank
  5. Grill brush
  6. Instant-read meat thermometer
  7. Tongs
  8. Aluminum foil


1. Prepare the Game Birds:

  • If you've hunted the birds yourself, make sure they are properly cleaned and dressed. If you've purchased them, ensure they are fully thawed if previously frozen.
  • You can marinate the birds for added flavor or simply use a dry rub. Marinating for a few hours or overnight can help tenderize and flavor the meat.

2. Preheat the Propane Grill:

  • Open the propane tank valve and turn on the grill by setting the burners to medium-high heat.
  • Close the grill lid and let it preheat for 10-15 minutes, allowing the grates to get hot. Clean the grates using a grill brush to remove any debris. If you are using grilling chips, like Wild Apple, this is the time to add them to your smoker box.

3. Prepare for Two-Zone Grilling:

  • Create two zones on the grill, one with direct heat (high heat) and the other with indirect heat (low or no heat). This gives you control over the cooking process.

4. Grill the Game Birds:

  • Place the game birds on the hot, direct heat side of the grill, skin-side down. If you have a whole bird, you can also butterfly or spatchcock it to ensure even cooking.
  • Grill for 2-4 minutes per side, depending on the size of the birds. You want to sear them to lock in juices and create grill marks.
  • After searing, move the birds to the cooler, indirect heat side of the grill.

5. Continue Cooking with Indirect Heat:

  • Close the grill lid and cook the game birds over indirect heat for an additional 15-25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches the desired level.
  • Game birds are safe to eat when they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), but some prefer them slightly less done for juicier meat. You can aim for 160-165°F for breast meat and a bit higher for the legs and thighs.

6. Baste or Glaze (Optional):

  • During the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, you can baste the birds with your favorite sauce or glaze for added flavor. Be careful not to burn the sauce.

7. Rest and Serve:

  • Remove the game birds from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.
  • Serve your grilled game birds with your choice of sides, such as grilled vegetables, salad, or rice.

Enjoy your grilled game birds! The exact cooking time may vary based on the size and type of game bird, so using an instant-read meat thermometer is essential to ensure they are cooked to your preferred level of doneness. Enjoy!  Papa Ken

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