Grilled Dove Breasts with Red Currant Sauce


September signals the end of summer and the beginning of our hunting season. Although autumn doesn’t officially begin until September 23rd this year, the temperatures begin to fall out and we start to see migrating green and blue-winged teal, pintail, and Canada geese. Dove season begins Labor Day weekend. The sunflower fields that Stephen and the boys planted in May are full of drooping seed heads and the power lines begin to sag from the weight of all the perching doves. Traditionally, we have a family dove shoot on opening day. Our dogs and kids are eager, as it’s been seven months since they’ve hunted together. After a brief reminder about gun safety, Dad directs everyone to a spot along the perimeter of the sunflower field and the fun begins! 



Grilled Dove Breasts with Red Currant Sauce

Serves 6 to 8

I’ve been making this recipe for 22 years. It’s one of our favorites and a great way to end a day spent with family and friends in the dove field.

24 dove breasts

12 slices Applewood or hickory

smoked bacon


¼ cup dark rum

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup canola oil

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Red Currant Sauce:

12 ounces red currant jelly (preferably seedless)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1 to 2 ounces dry white wine

Place dove breasts in a Ziploc freezer bag. Pour marinade over breasts. Remove as much air as possible from the bag and massage to distribute marinade over each breast. Place in a bowl or dish and marinate for 30 minutes to several hours.

Remove breasts and wrap each with ½ slice of bacon. Secure with wooden toothpicks. Grill breast side down for 4 to 5 minutes over moderate heat. Turnover and grill another 3 to 4 minutes. The secret to grilling anything perfectly is to remain vigilant at the grill. Move the breasts around so they do not become heavily charred. Do not overcook. These are best cooked medium rare. Serve with Red Currant Sauce.

For the Sauce:

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over low heat. Stir with a whisk to combine. Serve warm.

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