Entertaining Blueprint with Chris Hastings

5th Edition
A Classic
EACH YEAR AVID SPORTSMAN and James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Hastings hosts a father-son quail shoot just outside of Birmingham, Alabama, where camaraderie abounds and there is no shortage of exceptional food. Once the hunt is finished, the birds are cooked and an exquisite game lovers’ feast is enjoyed right in the field.
The Food
With braised mustanrd greens and cracklin' cornbread this menu says comfort, which is nice for the colder winter months and just what people are looking for after a day in the field. The fresh quail with the hunter style pirlou is a perfect pairing, complete with wild boar and Carolina Gold rice Finally, a fennel coleslaw with a basic aoli freshens things up and makes for one item on the menu that you can do ahead and not have to heat up.
Click here for Chris' Roasted Quail and Hunter Style Pirlou recipe
The Drinks
Fig and bourbon is a great pairing with quail, turkey, dove, game. Period. Dove season is really when figs are at their peak, but usually you can find them at specialty grocery stores during the early winter months, too. We quarter the fruit, let it sit in a small-batch bourbon, like Basil Hayden and let it do its magic. After about two weeks or more, when it has a distinct fig aroma, it’s at its best and is ready to be served. Serve the toddy neat or over ice with one of the bourbon-infused fig slices and enjoy.
The Setting
We host the father-son quail hunt at Wheeler Station Plantation in North Alabama It is traditional quail hunting. There are actual wild quail there and because of the early release system, most raised quail are wild. It is 10,000+ acre operation so you actually have to hunt them. We cover as much of the land that we can by riding horseback or drawn wagons. For this game lovers’ feast, we’ll gather post-hunt – dirty and all – around a long farm table, set right on the property of the plantation. When doing large family style meals, table décor and lighting should allow the food to shine, while also allowing for passing, sharing, and communicating.
From Charles Wright and Ike & Tina to John Prine and John Mayer, this playlist strikes the perfect balance of hip-shakin' classics and soulful tunes.
Rules of Entertaining
Enjoy social time before being seated to share anecdotal stories of the day’s hunt. Allow everyone to have a drink or two. The trick is to make sure to keep this to a 30-40 minute maximum.
Be sure the bar is accessible. Again, keep it simple. Allow guests the ability to serve themselves.
Everyone should rise to the occasion. The Father/Son hunt offers an opportunity to expose the young men to a lot of unique scenarios while reinforcing responsibility and good behavior. They are expected to clean the birds and help prepare the meal in any fashion necessary.
The Essentials 2.25 Quart Saucepan10.25 Quart Iron Handle SkilletMedium Multi BowlDinner Plate