Kenny Tutt's Buttermilk Fried Quail & Gravy Mayonnaise

Kenny Tutt's Buttermilk Fried Quail & Gravy Mayonnaise

This deep-fried quail recipe with gravy mayonnaise is the fancy fried chicken you've been waiting for. Keep your Thermapen on hand for your oil and meat temperatures to get that perfect crispy skin and juicy centre.


I'm a big fan of fried chicken; it would most likely be my final meal if I had to choose. Quail has a more gamey flavour but is still delicate, and the process of frying means the meat remains juicy with a well-spiced golden coating that just sets it off to a new level. A rich gravy mayonnaise makes the perfect sauce for some good old fashion dunking action.


Prep: 10-15 minutes + 1-8 hours brining time
Difficulty: Easy
Serves: 2-4
  • 4 plump quails, cut in half lengthways
  • 300ml buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp pickle brine (optional)
For the gravy mayonnaise
  • 100g good mayonnaise
  • 50g gravy (you can use a chicken gravy stock pot let down with a little hot water)
  • Sprinkle of chopped fresh thyme
  • Dash of malt vinegar
For the coating
  • 100g plain flour
  • 50g corn or rice flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp fine salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1 litre of vegetable/sunflower oil to deep fry
  • Place the quail halves in a bowl with the buttermilk and optional pickle juice. Make sure it's well coated and marinade for a minimum of 1 hour but up to 8 hours or overnight.
  • Make up your flour dredge. This can be done in advance and kept in an airtight container until ready to use. Combine the flour, spices and seasoning and mix well to ensure fully combined.
  • Before dredging the quail, add the oil to a heavy-bottomed deep pan or a deep-fat fryer and heat to 175/180 °C. Use your Thermapen to keep an eye on the temperature, and don't leave the pan unattended.
  • Remove the quail from the fridge, keep the buttermilk on the quail pieces and coat each half well with the flour mix. A good way to do this is by placing the flour and quail in a Ziploc bag to give it a good coating.
  • When each piece is well coated, gently place in the oil and fry for 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden. You may want to do it in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
  • Check the internal temperature in the fattest part of the meat. You're looking for a temperature of 74 °C. The breast meat will still have a nice rosy colour.
  • Drain well and place straight onto a rack. Avoid using a kitchen towel, as this can make the base soggy.
  • Combine the ingredients in a bowl to whip up a quick, delicious gravy mayonnaise. Adding a splash of vinegar gives the sauce a nice zing which goes really well with the quail.
  • Get stuck in whilst the golden quail is nice and hot and crispy. Delicious.
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" Thermapens are crucial to my cooking both at home and at my restaurant, so I'm delighted to be working on some new recipes to showcase what they can really do."
Kenny Tutt
Masterchef Champion 2018
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