How to Cook Squab

by Jackie Lohrey

Grilling is a quick and easy way to cook squab.

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Squab is a farm-raised baby pigeon that usually goes to market at about four weeks of age. A short lifetime ensures that although the bird remains small, its meat is tender. After killing, the blood of the bird remains in the body, giving the meat a dark color and rich flavor. Although squab is higher in fat than chicken, it is a good source of protein, iron and zinc. Oven roasting and grilling, either whole or after butterflying, are the most common methods of cooking squab.

Oven Roasting Squab

Wash the inside body cavity of each squab under cold running water. Pat the exterior surface dry with paper towels.

Brush the skin of each squab with 2 tsp. of olive oil, and then place it in a roasting pan, breast side up.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast the squab 45 to 60 minutes, basting the skin with wine or broth every 15 minutes during roasting.

Grilling Squab

Butterfly each squab to remove the backbone and flatten the meat. Baste both sides of the meat with 1 tbsp. of olive oil for each squab.

Heat a gas grill to medium high heat and a charcoal grill until the coals just start to turn a white ash color.

Place the squab on your grill, skin side down, with tongs. Close your grill cover and cook the meat for seven minutes. Then turn it and continue grilling for another seven to eight minutes.


  • For the best flavor when roasting or grilling, remove squab from the heat source when the meat is medium rare -- between 120 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the squab sit for 15 minutes before serving, during which time the temperature of the meat will reach a final internal temperature of 130 to 135 degrees.

    For deeper browning when you oven roast squab, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Roast the meat for 15 minutes at this temperature, and then reduce the heat to 325 degrees for the remainder of cooking time.

    To butterfly squab, set it on a cutting board, breast side down and cut along both sides of the backbone with a sharp knife or poultry shears, starting at the neck cavity. Remove the backbone from the squab and then flip it so the breast side now faces up. Using clean hands, flatten the squab by first pulling the body open and then pressing down firmly with the palm of your hand until you hear the rib bones crack and the squab flattens.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

About the Author

Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.