Broken Arrow Ranch

Growing up on a ranch in Ingram, Texas, one of Chris Hughes’s first jobs was at the age of eight, cooking sausage and giving a sales pitch to customers at food shows. After leaving home for nearly 10 years, Hughes realized an operation like Broken Arrow Ranch was too fun and interesting to not be a part of. He returned home in 2005 to take over operation of Broken Arrow Ranch after receiving an engineering degree, completing his MBA and starting a family.  

Hughes’ father, Mike Hughes, started Broken Arrow Ranch in 1983 for many reasons. The population of non-native deer and antelope introduced into Texas in the 1930’s had grown significantly, and there was no legal source for US venison. Mike Hughes found a way with Broken Arrow Ranch for chefs to obtain venison while helping to solve the growing population problem. To harvest deer without stress, Hughes built the first government approved mobile processing unit in the world, which allows them to quickly clean the animal and begin cooling to enhance quality, a practice they still use today. Throughout the years, they have grown the business to include other meats including wild boar, quail and pasture-raised lamb.

 

There is no one else in the world harvesting and processing animals the way Broken Arrow Ranch does, and that is what makes their meat so exceptional. The deer and antelope are truly wild, and the species they have on the ranch are simply not available anywhere else. They limit the wild boar they harvest to a specific size range to ensure that the meat is flavorful but not overpowering. Their quail farm, Diamond H Ranch in Bandera, Texas, is unique in that it is a single farm operation. The birds are bred, hatched, raised and processed all on site, and raised with the philosophy that happy birds make better birds.

 

Hughes first met owner of Jack Allen’s Kitchen, Jack Gilmore, four years ago at a food and wine event in Horseshoe Bay. Jack was interested in learning more about Hughes’ quail farm after Bryce Gilmore had started using Broken Arrow’s quail at the Odd Duck trailer. After learning Hughes’ could supply Jack with a large quantity of quail legs, Jack became one of Broken Arrow’s first regular quail customers.

 

“Jack is one of the most genuine chefs I have ever had the privilege to work with. He truly supports and appreciates all of his local suppliers,” says Hughes. 

Family owned and operated since 1983, Broken Arrow Ranch specializes in venison, wild board, quail and lamb. Broken Arrow Ranch ships their product directly to restaurants and individual customers. The ranch is located at 3296 Junction Highway, Ingram, TX 78025. For more information or order inquiries, visit www.brokenarrowranch.com.

Texas Quail Pibil
Jack Allen's Kitchen

For Achiote Marinade:

  • 1 ½ tablespoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 ½ tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cloves, whole
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon, preferably Mexican canela
  • 3 tablespoons achiote paste
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 14 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 ½ cups fresh orange juice
  1. Using coffee grinder, grind together first 5 ingredients, then transfer to bowl and smash in achiote paste.
  2. In blender, combine achiote mixture with salt, garlic, and juice. Blend until smooth, with almost no grittiness, and reserve.

 

For the Quail:

  • 8 semi-boneless quails, sliced ¼ inch thick
  1. In large bowl or plastic food bag, combine quail and marinade, coating meat completely. Allow to marinate for several hours or overnight.

 

Slow-Grilling the Quail:

  1. Heat gas grill to medium-high, or light charcoal fire and begin when coals are covered with grey ash and very hot.
  2. Either turn center burner(s) to medium-low or bank coals for indirect coking.
  3. Place quail on hot part of grill for 2 minutes, then turn over for 2 more minutes with lid closed.
  4. Move quail to coolest part of the grill.
  5. Baste top of quail with Achiote Marinade.
  6. Close lid for approximately 5 minutes.
  7. Flip quail and generously baste with marinade again.
  8. Grill until quail is thoroughly tender. Work in a fork near the bone; the meat should easily come free.

For the Pickled Red Onions:

  • 2 large, or 1 pound red onions
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  1. Before you grill quail, prepare pickled red onions by pouring boiling water over them in non-aluminum bowl.
  2. Wait 10 seconds, then strain.
  3. Return onions to bowl, add vinegar and juice, and stir in salt.
  4. Cover bowl, and set aside until serving as garnish for quail.