Slay to Gourmet: Fried Woodcock

Fried Woodcock


Fried woodcock // Photo by Matt Lien

  • 9 woodcocks, plucked and gutted, feet can be left on
  • 9 woodcock hearts
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon each ground cumin, smoked paprika, salt, black pepper, ground mustard, and celery seed
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • Enough canola oil to fill about three inches of a 3-quart saucier, or any high-walled pot five inches deep and nine inches wide.
  • Hot sauce of your choice

Carve the breast and legs off the birds. Reserve the carcasses for stock and try to get all the birdshot out of the birds. Brine the legs, breasts, and hearts in buttermilk with a tablespoon of salt for 2 to 4 hours.


Woodcock brining in buttermilk // Photo by Matt Lien

Heat canola oil in a high-walled pot to roughly 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the flour and spices with salt and pepper. Lift the woodcock from the buttermilk and dredge the pieces in flour, making sure they are completely coated. Shake off any excess flour.


Woodcock coated in flour // Photo by Matt Lien

In small batches, drop the woodcock legs and breasts into the hot oil. Cook for approximately one-and-a-half minutes, checking the pieces as you go. You’re trying to achieve skin that’s just past medium and approaching crisp.


Woodcock in the fryer // Photo by Matt Lien

Remove all the meat and place on a wire rack over a backing sheet to allow excess oil to drip off. The last thing you’ll want to fry is the hearts; they only take 45 seconds. Once all the parts are fried, finish with a little more salt and serve with your favorite hot sauce.


Hot sauce and craft beer are the complements to fried woodcock // Photo by Matt Lien

For more cooking tips, follow @TheMinnesotaSpoon on Instagram or Facebook, or go to see some previous recipes.

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