Sadly, it looks like I will be eating them myself. It turns out that friends and family alike find doves to be similar to pidgeons: slow, ugly, sidewalk grazing, garbage eating, and rather un-appetizing.
For some reason, The Dove never made it into the class of sexy game birds such as Pheasant, Grouse, or Quail. I think I'll try to give a little boost to my new friend, the bird of peace.
First of all, they fly fast and furious, rarely stopping, except to laugh at me after I've emptied my gun. So lets call "the slow thing" Myth #1.
As far as eating habits go, the 35 acre property that we hunted on was lush with wild seed bearing plants, and when we cleaned the doves we'd shot it was amazing to see how gorged they were with these seeds. So, I'd say that qualifies as Free-Range, 100% Organic.
On to my favorite part of hunting, which happens to take place in the kitchen. To me, wild game is a treat, and should be prepared accordingly. I couldn't really find a good recipe on the internet, but I did find one that sounded good for the ever popular Chicken, which just so happens to be the gold-standard for determining fitness for human consumption.
This recipe comes from "Webers Big Book of Grilling" by Jamie Purviance and Sandra S. McRae. Its called Orange-Pine nut Chicken Breasts, but I've adapted it for the far more tasty Dove.
Combine 1/2 cups each of Orange Juice, white wine, and throw in a tablespoon each of minced garlic, finely chopped Italian Parsley, and Olive Oil. Finally, add a teaspoon each of grated orange zest, dried thyme leaves and a half teaspoon of Kosher Salt.
Mix all of those ingredients together and marinate the dove breasts for at least an hour ( I used a plastic sealed bag).
After that long hour, I skewered the breasts and lightly brushed on some olive oil. (Save the Marinade!! )
While the breasts were grilling on indirect medium heat, I toasted 1/3 cup of pine nuts and then added the entire contents of the marinade, along with a few squirts of honey. This was simmered very gently until it thickened. I also brushed some of this on the dove breasts when they were close to being done.
In spite of slightly over-cooking the doves, I have to say this was my finest hour on the grill. The taste was pleasant, not too gamey ( even though I like "gamey" ), tender and lean. And the pine nut sauce defintely added an exotic flavor.