In my experience there are very few things as satisfying to hunt as grouse. That being said I often wonder why I don't spend more time hunting them. There is really nothing like it, the peace and quiet of walking through the woods on a crisp autumn morning is calming to me. Right up to the point when a grouse flushes right next to you and scares the bejeezus out of you. Then your heart is racing and the exhilaration of the hunt hits you. It's at that time you realize that you just stood there and watched the grouse fly away without ever raising your gun. The nice thing about grouse however, is that they very rarely fly to far away and you can usually see where they flew and might get a second chance at them.
Last fall I got to spend a good amount of time in the woods chasing grouse and actually did have some success. My grouse taken home to grouse seen percentage was pretty low but I did get to bring home a few grouse and this off season I am going to be eating some grouse, which is the other great part of grouse hunting. They are some of the best tasting game birds around. I know it is cliche to say they taste like chicken so I will instead say that they taste like a really nice free range chicken should taste. The meat is firm and lean and has a very natural clean almost nutty flavor. I will most definitely be spending more time this year chasing them.
When I was thinking of how I wanted to cook these little guys I came up with a few different ways. The first was to soak in buttermilk and then fry them. This is a very standard way to cook chicken and I figured it would work on grouse just as well. Before I soaked them in buttermilk I deboned them. If you have never deboned a bird before don't be to afraid of it, it really isn't as hard as it might look. Here is a simple video to help you out on deboning a quail.
You could leave the bones in if you want I just really like the idea of being able to pick up the whole thing by its two handles and eating all of it. This recipe will work on the breasts by themselves if you choose to just breast out your birds. You want to make sure and let the meat sit in the buttermilk mixture for at least an hour but could leave them overnight if you want to.
Buttermilk Fried Grouse
1 cup of buttermilk
2 tablespoons of hot sauce (I like to use Crystal Hot Sauce)
1 tsp of seasoned salt (like a lawry's or your favorite brand)
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
oil for frying
Mix the buttermilk, hot sauce and seasoned salt together and soak the grouse for at least an hour and up to overnight. Then mix together the flour and seasoned salt and dredge the grouse in the flour mixture until the grouse is completely coated. Set the grouse aside for about 5 minutes to let the breading stick to the grouse then fry in oil over a medium high burner for 4 minutes per side. This is super easy and wonderfully delicious.