September 1st was opening day for dove. We got out at the crack of dawn and brought home 13 doves.
Dove has its own distinct flavor. It’s hard to describe, but let me tell you this little bird packs a flavorful punch.
It’s popular to breast the dove and wrap it in bacon and grill it.
This is a good way to cook them, but our favorite is roasting them.
Doves are very lean so leaving the skin on helps keep the moisture in, making them tender and juicy.
We usually keep our doves on ice until we get home, then start the cleaning process. Some choose to field dress them. Either way, you choose make sure to leave one fully feathered wing on the dove until you get home. This is required by law so that the game warden can identify the bird if they choose to see what you’re leaving with.
Cleaning fresh doves
Cleaning is easy. Start by plucking all of the feathers off. Pluck the feathers the direction they lay, they will come out super easy. Using a sharp knife or scissors clip the feet off at the bend of the leg. Clip off the head at the base of the neck.
Also Read: Why I Hunt
With the scissors, carefully make a cut at the pelvis. Don’t snip too far in, you don’t want to cut the guts, you just want to make an opening big enough to gut it… Using your fingers, reach in and pull out the guts. This sounds gross, but done right it’s very easy and clean. Rinse them and make sure you got all of the guts out.
After you have cleaned and gutted your doves, soak them in saltwater for several hours. This will help keep the moisture in as well. Use 1 cup of salt per 1 gallon of water. After they have soaked rinse them in clean, cool water and pluck any remaining pin feathers, then continue on with any recipe you like.
Keep in mind that when you’re hunting doves, you can field dress them as I’ve explained how to above, but you need to leave one wing fully feathered and intact so that the Game Warden can identify the bird if they choose to look at your catch of the day. Every state has different rules but this is a good rule to follow.
2-6 whole doves gutted, plucked, cleaned, brined – see notes
2 Shallots quartered
2 Carrots cubed
1/4 Cup Butter or Ghee cubed
6-12 Fingerling Potatoes cubed
2 Garlic Cloves roughly chopped
Salt & Pepper
Chicken stock or bone broth
- Heat oven to 350°
- Add veggies to a dutch oven and toss with salt & pepper.
- Add 3 tbsp butter and enough chicken broth to cover veggies. Roast uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Generously salt & pepper the doves.
- Place a cube of butter inside each one and add to dutch oven with the veggies.
- Cook 30 minutes then broil for 10 minutes to get the skin nice and crispy. Serve with salad and crusty bread. Enjoy!
- After you have cleaned and gutted your doves, soak them in salt water for several hours. This will help keep the moisture in as well. Use 1 cup of salt per 1 gallon of water. After they have soaked rinse them in clean, cool water and pluck any remaining pin feathers.