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  • Results 1 to 17 of 17
    1. Back To Top    #1
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      Duck 101: How to prepare

      The discussion on the Wild Game Meat Taste thread gave me the impression there are plenty of NDAers out there who shoot ducks but don't particularly care for them. I was like you at one point. My mother, God bless her, cooked duck like she cooked everything else: well done and then a bit longer. The result were gray, livery hunks better fit as a puck for a game of pond hockey than table fare. This was preceded by my FIRST taste of wild ducks, which were cooked up by my uncles who rolled them in coffee grounds prior to roasting. Let me tell you, as far as first impressions go, that still haunts me.

      For many, many years all my duck was turned in to jerky. And to this day, I feel duck and goose jerky is possibly the best wild game jerky for the simple reason that it tastes so darn good marinaded and smoked.

      BUT, I couldn't help but think there was something else to it.

      So I started dabbling in marinades. There was one that was made years ago (I believe in North Dakota) called Hunter's Choice. It was heavy on the soy sauce, but gave great flavor. Even my lackluster skills at cooking made ducks much, much tastier than I'd remembered. My aunt also had a recipe that included onions, bacon, cream-of soup and a crockpot. That, too, was a big hit. I started to get pretty excited that the ducks I loved to hunt so much may just be fit for the table.

      Fast forward to today, and my palate (and cooking prowess) have changed considerably. Here's how I care and cook for ducks, and why my wife and kids look forward to duck meals more than almost any other meal we have.

      Preparation
      I'm not super anal about gutting and cooling ducks right away as some folks like to do. However, if you can keep them clean (i.e. devoid of pond sludge water) then I certainly think it can't hurt. The idea behind this is simply that getting the blood and possible stomach juices out as soon as possible can maintain the quality of the meat. It's no different than deer hunting and gutting the deer in the woods so the carcass starts to cool.

      Also, any time you're hunting early season it increases the chance of spoilage. A critter that dies begins decomposing, and heat speeds it along. Cooling the bird down by gutting is a step to hinder this process.

      Some people LOVE duck skin and duck fat. I have tried skin-on duck many times, and don't like the texture or taste (personal preference). But I encourage anyone to try it at least once. The end product of a perfectly plucked bird is better than any store-bought carcass you can find, and I'm told a nice grain-fed pintail, mallard or woodie is second-to-none as far as palate is concerned.

      Skinning is still my go-to method, mostly because it's simple, but also because the methods I use to cook duck are best with skinned meat. Cut down along either side of the breast bone and fillet the meat off. Be sure to get the little tenders! Those are a special "treat" for the kiddos, who usually run up to me while I'm grilling and beg for them.

      Also, please don't throw the legs. I still get a bit sad to think of all the hundreds and hundreds of legs that I dumped through the years before I learned how tasty they can be. It really does not take that much longer to yank the legs off a bird.

      Wings are another story. I've tried to find a quick, easy method to skin and detach the first and meatiest part of a wing, but for the amount of effort you simply don't get that much meat. If someone knows how to do this, I'd love to learn.

      That's it. I used to freeze and vaccum pack all my duck, but recently do the fish-packing trick (i.e. a bit of water with the breasts/legs in a freezer Ziploc bag, then freeze) and they last forever without the fear of freezer burn.

      Cooking methods
      There are primarily two ways I prefer my duck: Grilled or braised. In a pinch, the sear-in-a-hot-pan method will work, but our family loves grilled duck so much I usually reserve our meals for just those occasions. Braising is for the legs. I used to throw them in the slow cooker with french onion suip, but they wound up just falling apart and tasting like overdone roast beef. With enough BBQ sauce, however, they aren't bad on a bun this way.

      Our family has "graduated" quite a bit in how we like our grilled duck. We used to go through the hassle of duck poppers (duck stuffed with cream cheese and jalapenos, wrapped in bacon) but it's time consuming and messy. Now we have basically two ways of doing it.

      The first is a very simple marinade that includes lemon juice (we buy bottles of Real Lemon), grated ginger (a tube of grated ginger lasts months in our fridge), chili sauce, soy sauce, oil, and pepper. It not only gives great flavor, but doesn't completely mask the taste of the bird. Plus the acidity helps break the meat down a bit.

      Breasts this way are delicious grilled as-is over a high flame. There's no fat on a skinned duck, so you have no flare ups. High heat and about 3-4 minutes per side is plenty. I'd err on the side of less time and go medium, medium rare if you want a truly tender, juicy bite of duck.

      My kids really like the crispy bacon, so I wrap a few in bacon just for them. I don't think it lends a ton of flavor over the marinade, personally, but it doesn't hurt.

      But sometimes I just don't want to mix a marinade. Instead, I'll sprinkle on whatever grilling seasoning I have about 15 minutes before cooking. It's about as naked as it gets. Again, high heat and fast grilling is the key. If they come out too far past mahogany, you've gone too far. The best way to test is the finger press. If you press the breast and your finger goes in like a sponge, it's rare. If you get a decent resistance but still some give, you're at medium rare. Perfection.

      You can also grill the legs, but I highly suggest marinading with something that breaks them down a bit, and never grilling past medium rare. Duck legs are pretty damn tough, which Is why I really like to braise them.

      Braising is not slow cooking. It's faster that a slow cooker, and I believe imparts better flavor and texture. You basically sear the legs in a dutch oven, then add some sort of stock or sauce. My favorite is teriyaki duck. You season the legs and sear in butter and oil over medium high heat. Take the legs out and set aside, then deglaze the pan with some water or beer. Scrape up the brown bits, then add the legs back in. Cover the legs almost all the way with teriyaki sauce, then into an oven for several hours. You'll want to check on the legs and stir them a couple times to get the legs at the top to the bottom, but pull them right before they're fall-off-the bone. You want some bite -- not mush. At this point, you can either serve them on a bed of rice, or if you want to get really fancy, touch the legs to a hot grill for a bit of a charred flavor, then over the rice with the sauce left in the dutch oven poured over the entire works.

      Wild game is a family favorite, weather it's bird, big game or fish. No matter what your'e cooking, care in the field, in storage and at the grill or stove is paramount to getting the most out of the meat.

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      Remember to always practice CPR: Catch, Pickle and Refrigerate!

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      Thanks for the write up! Agree with most of whats written. Hopefully a few nay sayers will give some of this a try. Now i need to go get a pack of mallard out of the freezer for tonight.

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    3. Back To Top    #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by Duckslayer100 View Post
      The discussion on the Wild Game Meat Taste thread gave me the impression there are plenty of NDAers out there who shoot ducks but don't particularly care for them. I was like you at one point. My mother, God bless her, cooked duck like she cooked everything else: well done and then a bit longer. The result were gray, livery hunks better fit as a puck for a game of pond hockey than table fare. This was preceded by my FIRST taste of wild ducks, which were cooked up by my uncles who rolled them in coffee grounds prior to roasting. Let me tell you, as far as first impressions go, that still haunts me.

      For many, many years all my duck was turned in to jerky. And to this day, I feel duck and goose jerky is possibly the best wild game jerky for the simple reason that it tastes so darn good marinaded and smoked.

      BUT, I couldn't help but think there was something else to it.

      So I started dabbling in marinades. There was one that was made years ago (I believe in North Dakota) called Hunter's Choice. It was heavy on the soy sauce, but gave great flavor. Even my lackluster skills at cooking made ducks much, much tastier than I'd remembered. My aunt also had a recipe that included onions, bacon, cream-of soup and a crockpot. That, too, was a big hit. I started to get pretty excited that the ducks I loved to hunt so much may just be fit for the table.

      Fast forward to today, and my palate (and cooking prowess) have changed considerably. Here's how I care and cook for ducks, and why my wife and kids look forward to duck meals more than almost any other meal we have.

      Preparation
      I'm not super anal about gutting and cooling ducks right away as some folks like to do. However, if you can keep them clean (i.e. devoid of pond sludge water) then I certainly think it can't hurt. The idea behind this is simply that getting the blood and possible stomach juices out as soon as possible can maintain the quality of the meat. It's no different than deer hunting and gutting the deer in the woods so the carcass starts to cool.

      Also, any time you're hunting early season it increases the chance of spoilage. A critter that dies begins decomposing, and heat speeds it along. Cooling the bird down by gutting is a step to hinder this process.

      Some people LOVE duck skin and duck fat. I have tried skin-on duck many times, and don't like the texture or taste (personal preference). But I encourage anyone to try it at least once. The end product of a perfectly plucked bird is better than any store-bought carcass you can find, and I'm told a nice grain-fed pintail, mallard or woodie is second-to-none as far as palate is concerned.

      Skinning is still my go-to method, mostly because it's simple, but also because the methods I use to cook duck are best with skinned meat. Cut down along either side of the breast bone and fillet the meat off. Be sure to get the little tenders! Those are a special "treat" for the kiddos, who usually run up to me while I'm grilling and beg for them.

      Also, please don't throw the legs. I still get a bit sad to think of all the hundreds and hundreds of legs that I dumped through the years before I learned how tasty they can be. It really does not take that much longer to yank the legs off a bird.

      Wings are another story. I've tried to find a quick, easy method to skin and detach the first and meatiest part of a wing, but for the amount of effort you simply don't get that much meat. If someone knows how to do this, I'd love to learn.

      That's it. I used to freeze and vaccum pack all my duck, but recently do the fish-packing trick (i.e. a bit of water with the breasts/legs in a freezer Ziploc bag, then freeze) and they last forever without the fear of freezer burn.

      Cooking methods
      There are primarily two ways I prefer my duck: Grilled or braised. In a pinch, the sear-in-a-hot-pan method will work, but our family loves grilled duck so much I usually reserve our meals for just those occasions. Braising is for the legs. I used to throw them in the slow cooker with french onion suip, but they wound up just falling apart and tasting like overdone roast beef. With enough BBQ sauce, however, they aren't bad on a bun this way.

      Our family has "graduated" quite a bit in how we like our grilled duck. We used to go through the hassle of duck poppers (duck stuffed with cream cheese and jalapenos, wrapped in bacon) but it's time consuming and messy. Now we have basically two ways of doing it.

      The first is a very simple marinade that includes lemon juice (we buy bottles of Real Lemon), grated ginger (a tube of grated ginger lasts months in our fridge), chili sauce, soy sauce, oil, and pepper. It not only gives great flavor, but doesn't completely mask the taste of the bird. Plus the acidity helps break the meat down a bit.

      Breasts this way are delicious grilled as-is over a high flame. There's no fat on a skinned duck, so you have no flare ups. High heat and about 3-4 minutes per side is plenty. I'd err on the side of less time and go medium, medium rare if you want a truly tender, juicy bite of duck.

      My kids really like the crispy bacon, so I wrap a few in bacon just for them. I don't think it lends a ton of flavor over the marinade, personally, but it doesn't hurt.

      But sometimes I just don't want to mix a marinade. Instead, I'll sprinkle on whatever grilling seasoning I have about 15 minutes before cooking. It's about as naked as it gets. Again, high heat and fast grilling is the key. If they come out too far past mahogany, you've gone too far. The best way to test is the finger press. If you press the breast and your finger goes in like a sponge, it's rare. If you get a decent resistance but still some give, you're at medium rare. Perfection.

      You can also grill the legs, but I highly suggest marinading with something that breaks them down a bit, and never grilling past medium rare. Duck legs are pretty damn tough, which Is why I really like to braise them.

      Braising is not slow cooking. It's faster that a slow cooker, and I believe imparts better flavor and texture. You basically sear the legs in a dutch oven, then add some sort of stock or sauce. My favorite is teriyaki duck. You season the legs and sear in butter and oil over medium high heat. Take the legs out and set aside, then deglaze the pan with some water or beer. Scrape up the brown bits, then add the legs back in. Cover the legs almost all the way with teriyaki sauce, then into an oven for several hours. You'll want to check on the legs and stir them a couple times to get the legs at the top to the bottom, but pull them right before they're fall-off-the bone. You want some bite -- not mush. At this point, you can either serve them on a bed of rice, or if you want to get really fancy, touch the legs to a hot grill for a bit of a charred flavor, then over the rice with the sauce left in the dutch oven poured over the entire works.

      Wild game is a family favorite, weather it's bird, big game or fish. No matter what your'e cooking, care in the field, in storage and at the grill or stove is paramount to getting the most out of the meat.
      You spelled steak wrong.

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      We all saw Bambi die.....we got over it

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    5. Back To Top    #5
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      Grilled duck is good, here’s how I do mine.
      Soak in salt water for 24 hrs
      Pat them dry and season with Salt,pepper, and onion powder
      Wrap 1or 2 pieces of bacon depending on size of duck
      Grill to medium rare

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      Last edited by FishFinder97; 01-17-2019 at 12:30 AM.

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      Great time for a bump on this thread!

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      Quote Originally Posted by ndlongshot View Post
      Great time for a bump on this thread!
      I forgot I wrote this! I actually made a huge batch of teriyaki duck legs this weekend to empty my freezer, and they're already gone. The kids ate until they darn near popped, and me and the wife had the scraps. I think I had 48 legs altogether.

      Can't wait for Saturday to refill our stocks!

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      Remember to always practice CPR: Catch, Pickle and Refrigerate!

    8. Back To Top    #8
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      Been meaning to find these pics for a while. This was a wild duck breast...

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      Marinating in something and i can't remember what^^
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      Did my best to trim the silver skin type stuff off.
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      Bacon wrapped and pan fried in a cast iron skillet.
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      Consider this about just south of medium rare. Wife likes em a bit more done than me. Side of rice.
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      Can't really remember what the sauce was. Either a hoisin or some sort of red wine reduction with the shit from the frying pan.
      It is really hard to comprehend how good properly cooked duck is. I consider it right up there with the best of tenderloins.

      - - - Updated - - -

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      couple of more. this is more how my wife likes them done.
      Attached Images Attached Images   

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      Don't shoot gadwall, they suck no matter what you do. Let the Sotas eat them up.

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      So not true

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      Snagzilla will always be #1

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      That is how you cook duck, E. Mallard medium rare tastes just like a steak. The more you overcook it the more it tastes like liver. Same goes for sharptails, you cook them medium rare and they are damn good. Overcook them and they are crap. Freeze them and they are crap no matter what you do.

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      my brother and I had a number of blind taste tests - mallard vs gadwall vs teal etc.

      rigorous testing has convinced us to pull the trigger on gadwall as fast as we do mallards

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      the two successful ways I have eaten duck breasts are teriyaki in stir fry and chunked into bite sized balls lightly seasoned, panko/italian bread crumb coated and deep fried


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      Gadwall is pretty much identical to mallard only smaller.

      The main point to cooking duck: DO NOT OVER COOK!

      This can not be repeated enough. Most people that dislike duck cook it until it's well done or shoe leather. Yuck!

      Duck should be seared and rare to medium rare like beef.

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      If you wrap with bacon and cover in sauce pretty much anything taste good.

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      Step 1: go hunting and shoot duck

      Step 2: Find someone that wants them or give to food pantry

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      Yep, you'll find me eating gads no problem

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