The rainfall and somewhat cooler temperatures have coincided with opening day of dove season this year. The extra water may disperse the birds away from waterholes, but everyone will enjoy hunting with temperatures in the low 90’s rather than the low 100’s. Predictions for Central Texas are calling for a good to excellent season. So, it seems birds will be plentiful, you just have to be able to hit them. With opening day of dove season this last week, I hope everyone has filled their refrigerator with dove meat.
Handling of any wild game from the field to the table can make a huge difference in flavor and taste. Here are a few tips: Remove the entrails and skin soon after the kill to ensure rapid heat loss and the best meat quality. Clean the animal and keep it clean. As soon as possible get the dove cooled thoroughly and refrigerated.
With our typical hot September temperatures, this will be important.
Unlike chicken or even quail, migratory birds like dove have dark meat breast.
Dove meat is extremely lean (doves get plenty of exercise in their migration flights), it is reasonably tough, and it has a distinct, rich flavor that many city folks consider gamey. Dove meat has next to no fat, making it an extremely dry meat. When preparing dove one must keep these factors in mind. To combat the dryness of the meat and to keep from drying it out further, debone the breast and cut them in to making two pieces of breast meat. These can be wrapped in bacon or soaked in a marinade overnight. Never overcook dove, unless you like to chew a lot.
Here is a recipe from Field and Stream that is really good, you can change it around to suit you.
JALAPENO DOVE POPPERS
De-boned dove breasts
1 can jalapeno peppers
1 tub cream cheese
1. Pre-heat grill
2. Rinse and dry dove breasts.
3. Slice jalapenos in half lengthwise. (Remove seeds and veins if you prefer less heat.)
4. Slather cream cheese in the open cavity of each jalapeno. Top with a dove breast, wrap in half a piece of bacon, and secure with a toothpick.
5. Grill poppers over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is crisp, turning once. Salt and pepper to taste.