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Speedgoat44

Easy idiot-proof duck recipe needed!

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Speedgoat44

Well, after a 15 yr hiatus, I'm going to hunt ducks again.  It's taken every minute of those 15 yrs to forget the last putrid encounter I had with waterfowl as table fare.   In my locale, we have about 3 weeks of pretty good duck hunting.  I figure the pooch and I can work on some water retrieves and enjoy some nice fall mornings - maybe even a cast and blast for ducks and trout.  Could someone please give me an easy way to approach enjoying the handful of mallards I might collect this fall?  The bar is pretty low here...thanks for helping me out!

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mister grouse

if a duck has been eating anything fish like it is difficult to get that flavor out of the breast or carcass easily....

 

Sniff the meat, if it smells too fishy and you don't care for that flavor then thaw another bird.  I have killed  mallards and black duck  in mid south and down that had minnows in them...these are not good eaters.  

 

If you are dealing with grain eating birds (mallards pintail etc) you are well on the  way to a good duck dinner.  My recipe (used by many so really not mine alone) is designed to cook bird to medium rare while preserving moisture in meat.  ANY Overcooked duck is barely palatable to me.   I breast the birds, removing skin form breast meat.  i also remove legs at hip joint and skin.  I debone the femur above the knee. if you want to be sure you have a more neutral flavor for non game eaters ( or are not sure about bird diet) , marinate the pieces in italian dressing for a few hours in the refrigerator.  Either after the marinade or with out the marinade ,( If you know you have grain fed birds), then i would cut the breast pieces into thirds (halves for smaller breasts like widgeon, ,leave whole for teal) long ways so end up with "hot dog" shapes but thicker.  Get a hand full of wooden toothpicks.  Get the thinnest -cheapest bacon you can buy (fat is better than lean) and barber pole the pieces ,securing at each end with toothpicks.  Bacon wrap the thigh pieces same way, but lower legs generally not wrapped below knee by me..   Salt and pepper heavily at this stage.  Have a really hot grill or charcoal fire ready.  Have a glass or two of water handy.  Cook the pieces on a hot fire quick and fast, turning as needed to avoid burning and using the water glass to lightly douse grease fire that might come and go due to bacon fat.  If the fire is hot you should have the pieces cooked in maybe five -seven minutes.  Key is HOT AND FAST. DO NOT overcook.  If the bacon is overcooked too hard then the duck might be too.  Done right you will end up with a medium rare meat.  Legs might take a bit more cooking time. I have seen variations of all kinds on this, but done this way the meat should be moist, tender, and close to true wild  duck flavor.   I used to spend extended time in a duck camp in Canada annually.  We ate birds fixed this way (goose strips too) every night for a week or more at a time.  try it

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Birdcountry70

What mister grouse says about overdcooked duck is spot on and anything over medium is overcooked. The meat seems to change into something totally different in flavor and texture,  terrible. 

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dogrunner

Duck Rumaki, we make it for our wild game dinner it is always a great appetizer and people eat it up.  

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Cotton1

Duck and sausage gumbo is hard to beat.

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Speedgoat44

Thanks for the info - the ducks around here smell like the bottom of the pond...definitely not grain fed.  Could be the problem...sometimes we get a flight or two that have been into grain a day or two before.  Which marinade would draw out that flavor the most?

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mister grouse
1 hour ago, Speedgoat44 said:

 Which marinade would draw out that flavor the most?

Italian dressing will generally knock out the gamey part if you go 12 hours in the marinade.  In fact , you might not taste anything but Italian dressing at that point. 

 

Maybe should have added this earlier: soaking duck breasts or whole duck in  salt water  can draw out any blood in meat.  That helps flavor for subsequent cooking by any method. 

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garyRI

To me "gamey" means liver tasting and I think mostly caused by poor meat handling.

 

Find the Anthony Bordain Ozarks no reservations where he shows duck hunters how to cook duck breast.

 

If you don't have the inclination just eat puddle ducks, bleed and gut them, breast them than cook/blackened rare. To me tastes like a great cut of steak.

 

Probably a good idea to brine before cooking

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dogrunner

Liver tasting is cause more by Over cooking. 

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