There’s only a few days left in our 30 days of honey round-up and today we’re taking you to the kitchen of Chef Kevin Gillespie. Although many recognize Gillespie for rocking the Atlanta restaurant scene (yeah, we know it’s a little far north), his run on Top Chef and for his nomination for a James Beard Award, that’s all about to change. That is, when you try his recipe for Grilled Honey Lacquered Quail.

For those who like to plan ahead, the honey lacquer can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. Just before using it, heat it up slightly in a pan and you’ll be ready to go.

Grilled Honey Lacquered Quail

serves 4


1 cup honey
12 cloves garlic confit (recipe below)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 quail, with skin on, breastbones removed, leg and wing bones intact (often labeled “semi boneless”
olive oil


Put the honey and garlic confit in an 8-inch sauté pan and set over
medium-high heat. When the mixture starts to bubble and foam, cut the
heat down to medium. As the honey cooks, take a whiff. After a couple
minutes, it will begin to smell like toasted rice, then the aromas of the
flowers will start to develop; orange blossom honey will have a citrus
aroma, wildflower honey will smell more floral. The flavors will intensify
and the honey will start to change color from very pale to slightly golden
after about 5 minutes.

When the color starts to change, add the vinegar. It will foam up and then deflate, and the mixture will continue to bubble. Cut the heat down so that the mixture simmers very gently and cook for another 15 minutes. The mixture will be crazy hot, so be very careful.

Gently pull the pan from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Puree the mixture in a blender, then strain the puree and discard the solids.

Heat a grill for direct high heat.

Pat the quail dry, brush both sides lightly with oil, and season the breast side with salt.

Scrape the grill clean and coat it with oil. Set the quail on the grill, breast side down, at a 45-degree angle to the grates. Grill for 1 minute, rotate 90 degrees, then cover with a foil pan or metal bowl and grill for another 2 minutes.

Flip the quail over, cover again, and grill for 2 minutes more. Remove the quail from the grill and immediately brush on a thin, even coating of the honey lacquer.

Let the quail rest for 2 minutes before serving.

Confit Garlic

Makes about 1/2 cup cloves and 2 cups garlic oil


3 whole heads garlic, each clove peeled and trimmed of its woody end, about 30 cloves total
2 cups olive


Put the garlic cloves and olive oil in a small saucepan. Bring the oil almost to a simmer over medium heat, but don’t let it boil.

Cut the heat down to low and cook until the garlic is golden brown and soft, 20 to 25 minutes.

Pull the pan from the heat and let the garlic cool in the oil.

Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

See our complete round-up of honey recipes.

Photo Credit: Angie Mosier