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Any recco for wild duck? Sous vide? hot smoke? Both?
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Thread: Any recco for wild duck? Sous vide? hot smoke? Both?

  1. #1

    Zwiefel's Avatar
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    Any recco for wild duck? Sous vide? hot smoke? Both?

    Recently became friends with an avid hunter who is eager to try new things with his game. Right now, he has lots of wild duck (some of it is already frozen).

    Any ideas for preparation? Whole? parts? Breast? Thighs?
    Remember: You're a unique individual...just like everybody else.

  2. #2
    daveb's Avatar
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    Oh yeah. Wrapped right now but will return. Are ducks puddle ducks (prob Mallards in Ar) or divers?
    Dave
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  3. #3
    I don't know if wild ducks are the same in the US as they are here in Aus, but I also had a friend with a stash of wild ducks. They were quite small, very lean and very gamy, the breast meat was very livery in flavour. The legs were very tough and stringy.
    I had limited success, but I didn't pursue it as none of the taste testers found the flavour very appealing. I cooked the birds in the bag with duck fat, thyme & garlic for around 3 hours at 63 degrees c, then dried them and deep fryed them whole. As I mentioned the leg meat was bareley digestible, but the texture of the breast meat was nice, still a touch chewy but nice and pink. If I were to try again, I would remove the legs before cooking and reserve for stock, I'd also sousvide for longer to try and aid in tenderising.
    The guy i got them from usually uses the breast meat for schnitzel, and the legs for stew. The strong flavour of the meat would probably lend itself well to a curry. (I'm sure you have a suitable recipe)

    Anyway good luck, I'm sure you'll have some fun experimenting, and please share your results.

    Here's a couple of pics of how mine went
    [IMG][/IMG]
    [IMG][/IMG]
    [IMG][/IMG]
    Served with sour cherries & hazelnuts
    Huw
    In order to make delicious food, you must eat delicious food. Jiro Ono

  4. #4
    daveb's Avatar
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    Z,

    My avatar suggests how I feel about duck hunting - the most fun you can have with your clothes on...

    Your friend most likely has Mallards (Arkansas state bird?) in the freezer. Excellent table fare. I breast them and reserve the legs for gumbo type dishes - maybe confit with your new toys. I take the meat off the breast bone, 2 pieces per duck. usually marinade in some variation of red wine and brown sugar then cook quickly on a hot grill. Target temp is med rare. (You can use a glass of wine as a timer. Breasts on, pretty side down, sip wine, turn breast over, sip wine, remove breast.) Let rest and finish glass of wine. To serve I puddle a sauce on the plate, slice breast thinly and lay it down. Can fan breast, or keep it mostly together. Maybe a spoonful of sauce on top. Rice is traditional side, my veg of choice is asparagus (always).

    The sauce can take a duck from good to stellar. I like one that is a little sweet and a little fruity, that compliments the flavor of the duck but does not obscure it. A good, simple one that everyone seems to like is combine red wine, brown sugar, orange peel and peppercorns, Use half for marinade and reserve half for sauce. Reduce sauce being careful not to turn it to candy. Strain and use. I've also had fun with balsamic reductions with berries or pomegranate. Sauces for game is something I would like to know more about.

    Wood ducks, and teal are also excellent and I treat the same way. Gadwall, Wigeons and Pintails can be good cooked as above, in braised dishes or brined into pastrami.
    Shovelers (also called spoonies) and Coot cannot be made fit to eat, though Huw could probably make them pretty...

    Should note that any fat on game will contribute to the gamey taste some has. Clean well. There is a piece of silverskin that runs along the bottom of the breast - I do what I can to remove it. And finally these ducks did not die of old age, there are pellet holes in them or you would not be cleaning them. Go into the holes with tweezers and ensure no feathers were carried inside with the pellets. The pellets will usually pass through the birds but a quick check for them does not hurt.
    Next season you can offer to seal the ducks in your sealer. They will freeze much better than ziplocks. If invited I would be happy to show you how.

    Damn, now I've got to check my freezer. Enjoy.
    Dave
    Older and wider.

  5. #5

    Zwiefel's Avatar
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    Excellent! Thanks Dave!

    Re Invitation: It's always open brother...just gimme 48 hours notice.

    Quote Originally Posted by daveb View Post
    Z,

    My avatar suggests how I feel about duck hunting - the most fun you can have with your clothes on...

    Your friend most likely has Mallards (Arkansas state bird?) in the freezer. Excellent table fare. I breast them and reserve the legs for gumbo type dishes - maybe confit with your new toys. I take the meat off the breast bone, 2 pieces per duck. usually marinade in some variation of red wine and brown sugar then cook quickly on a hot grill. Target temp is med rare. (You can use a glass of wine as a timer. Breasts on, pretty side down, sip wine, turn breast over, sip wine, remove breast.) Let rest and finish glass of wine. To serve I puddle a sauce on the plate, slice breast thinly and lay it down. Can fan breast, or keep it mostly together. Maybe a spoonful of sauce on top. Rice is traditional side, my veg of choice is asparagus (always).

    The sauce can take a duck from good to stellar. I like one that is a little sweet and a little fruity, that compliments the flavor of the duck but does not obscure it. A good, simple one that everyone seems to like is combine red wine, brown sugar, orange peel and peppercorns, Use half for marinade and reserve half for sauce. Reduce sauce being careful not to turn it to candy. Strain and use. I've also had fun with balsamic reductions with berries or pomegranate. Sauces for game is something I would like to know more about.

    Wood ducks, and teal are also excellent and I treat the same way. Gadwall, Wigeons and Pintails can be good cooked as above, in braised dishes or brined into pastrami.
    Shovelers (also called spoonies) and Coot cannot be made fit to eat, though Huw could probably make them pretty...

    Should note that any fat on game will contribute to the gamey taste some has. Clean well. There is a piece of silverskin that runs along the bottom of the breast - I do what I can to remove it. And finally these ducks did not die of old age, there are pellet holes in them or you would not be cleaning them. Go into the holes with tweezers and ensure no feathers were carried inside with the pellets. The pellets will usually pass through the birds but a quick check for them does not hurt.
    Next season you can offer to seal the ducks in your sealer. They will freeze much better than ziplocks. If invited I would be happy to show you how.

    Damn, now I've got to check my freezer. Enjoy.
    Remember: You're a unique individual...just like everybody else.

  6. #6
    That's great advice. I have some Canadian goose breast coming and will make sausage with some and I'm going to try to sous vide a couple and see where it goes.

  7. #7
    daveb's Avatar
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    A small nit and I'll apologize in advance for addressing it here.

    Canada is the country. Canadians are the people that live there. The birds are Canada Geese - not Canadian Geese. It would be proper to say "of all the Canadian geese, the best known is the Canada Goose."

    While this may seem trivial it is important in Florida.

    To hunt Canada Geese, one needs to lay in the mud, with a wet dog, amongst a bunch of decoys with at least one competent caller and hope you can get the attention of a couple birds.

    To hunt Canadians in Fl, one only needs a sign that says "Free Buffet" and the whole flock will come in.

    Sorry. Couldn't help myself.

    Dave
    Older and wider.

  8. #8
    Thoughtfully put and noted -

  9. #9
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    seared, and serve very rare..sliced thin.

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