When most people think of the dove, they tend to think of a peaceful, serene creature with a majestic meaning. Sure, this is exactly what the dove can represent to some individuals, but it can mean something else entirely to others.
In fact, some people hunt and eat dove for sport. There is an entire season tailor-made for the activity. Thousands on top of thousand gather every year in Alabama to participate in the opening day of the north zone dove season. So, what does dove taste like?
Dove tastes more mild than waterfowl, more flavorful than pheasant, though not as juicy. All depends on how you cook it. Overall absolutely delicious.
The Meat Profile And Taste
With just a little bit of time and research, you’ll quickly discover that the mourning doves are migratory birds, somewhat similar to that of ducks and geese. This means that they’ll not only provide some of the darkest meat around, but they’ll provide some of the leanest and ripped mean.
All those long flights really get the legs and breasts in shape. Birds that do not migrate like the quail and chicken are white-meat breasts. Despite its leanness, dove meat can be extremely tough coupled with a distinct, rich flavor that some might consider gamy.
This is why it is important to take these three considerations into mind when preparing your dove meat. Most people don’t realize it, but just because it’s dove meat it doesn’t mean that you have to cook it like dove meat.
In fact, a lot of people cook dove meat like they cook their chicken. And, they usually end up coming out with an overall better final product.
Combating The Natural Lack Of Moisture
The biggest problem that you’ll run into with dove meat is that it just doesn’t naturally contain enough moisture. This means that it usually leaves you with a dry end product. If you look up any recipe worth its grain of salt, you’ll see that they offer a solution to this problem.
However, if you are experimenting on your own or trying dove meat for the first time this might not be something that you are aware of. This is where bacon comes in handy. You’ll find that most dove recipes do call for bacon. They’ll want you to wrap the breast in bacon during the cooking process.
There is a good reason for this, and it’ll soon become a norm for you if you plan on making consumption of dove meat a regular thing. The bacon simply adds flavorful far to what would otherwise be dry, plain meat.
The dryness is something that you can nip in the bud by soaking the breasts in marinade. However, there are some individuals that will soak the breasts for several hours in a brine solution of 1 cup of salt to 1 gallon of water.
This is a vital step, as it causes the dove’s pores to naturally close and retain moisture. Another pro tip to remember to help combat dryness is to avoid longer cooking times. You have to remember that longer cooking only means that you are going to suck out more moisture.
You’ll end up making already dry meat even that much drier. Most experts out there like to debone the breasts, split them into halves, and cook each piece individually for much faster cooking times.
In addition to all this, there are many ways that you can add season and spice to your dove meat. Onions, jalapenos, marinades, and other similar options will obviously enhance the overall flavor and taste of dove meat.
A Look At The Nutritional Side
Not only does consuming dove meat offer a different a unique flavor profile than your average chicken or duck, but it might be more nutritious than you’d ever imagined. Just start with the protein.
To start out, dove meat contains nearly as much protein as a cow. That’s right, a cow contains 18.8 grams of protein for every 100-gram portion. A piece of dove meat offers 17.5 grams of protein for every 100-gram portion.
This is better dang close! Protein is the essential building block of body tissue and helps support a healthy metabolism.
It’ll help the body produce essential enzymes while also supporting the actions of every organ in the body. You couple these facts alone with the fact that dove meat also has a high mineral content, and you need to be asking yourself – why wouldn’t anyone concerned with their health be eating dove meat?
Dove meat is particularly known for the mineral selenium.
Selenium is essential for the body and offers all kinds of benefits like protection from free radicals, increased thyroid function, reducing the risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis, reduction of muscle pains, reduction to the risk of cancer, and reduction of heart diseases.
And, this is just one of the minerals along with its powerful benefits. Dove meat also contains zinc, which comes with a whole laundry list of health benefits as well.
Give that the morning dove is a more slender version of the pigeon and only grows 11 to 13 inches, they can be pretty challenging to take down. Couple this with the fact that they can fly at speeds upwards of 40 miles per hour, and you are truly looking at a difficult hunt.
This is why some of the most skilled hunters in the world like to put their skills to the ultimate test. Despite their small size, one bird will yield you a hearty meal if cleaned, prepared, and cooked right.
You can also see that the bird offers a unique flavor profile coupled with health benefits that you’d likely get when eating cow meat. Regardless, the experience is worth at least trying once. You’ll probably end up liking it so much that you’ll want to do it again.