Every waterfowl hunter knows that one of the greatest parts of the entire experiencing is enjoying every last bite of your game. The chances are that you have a few favorite tried-and-true recipes that you love, but now is the time to start collecting a couple more to try once hunting season begins. That is why we put together a list of our latest favorites along with some how-to videos to complete the process. Some of these may surprise you but try them out, and your taste buds will thank us later.
How to Clean Your Duck
Cleaning ducks is a necessary part of waterfowl hunting. Follow this step-by-step guide to clean your duck correctly.
If you are in the field and the temperature is over 50 degrees, you should field dress your ducks in the blind.
Step 1: Remove the entrails right away to cool the duck's body temperature.
Make a small cut at the base of the chest plate and remove all the internal organs. If you want to keep the heart and liver for later use, store those separately in a small plastic bag. Once your game is field dressed, stuff them with a dry paper toweling and hang them in the shade.
Step 2: Once you are home, you can pluck or breast out your waterfowl.
Breasting out includes using a filet knife to trim the skin off the breast meat, then carefully carving the meat off of the breastplate.
If you choose to pluck the breast (best for roasting), prep the duck by dipping it in boiling water and paraffin wax. You can also use dish soap. Hold the bird by the feet or neck and drop it in the water for about ten seconds. The feathers will rub right off. After the feathers are removed, singe the hair off the skin and remove the feet, head, and wings.
Step 3: The last step is rinsing the body cavity to clean out any remaining entrails.
You can do this by spraying the body in the sink or with your garden hose. If you plan to eat the bird within the few days, you can store it in the refrigerator. If you are eating it at a later date, vacuum seal your duck and store it in the freezer.
For additional help, watch this YouTube video that walks you through the entire cleaning process.
Top 5 Waterfowl Recipes
Now that you know how to clean your duck properly, let's look at our five favorite waterfowl recipes for you to try this next hunting season.
The Perfect Duck Breast Recipe
Created by Gordon Ramsay
Sometimes we get wrapped up in fancy recipes that overcomplicate the main ingredient. Don't get us wrong, we love cooking up something nice, but it is also nice to go back to what makes great. This recipe breaks duck down to its bare bones with a simple how-to cook the perfect duck breast guide. Not only is this recipe easy-to-follow, but it lets the duck do all of the talking.
What You'll Need:
Salt + Pepper
Apple and Brown Sugar Wild Duck
Created by the BBQ Pit Boys
If you have never tried wild duck before, you are missing out. This scrumptious recipe amplifies the natural flavors of your game while pulling in a bit of the sweet and savory. We love everything about this recipe and are sure you will too.
What You'll Need:
Ruth's "Best in the World" Wingmead Duck Recipe
Created by Ruth Thompson
Wingmead is the home of Edgar Queeny, a millionaire industrialist who wrote the classic waterfowl study "Prairie Wings." The property outside Stuttgart has hosted such luminaries as Walt Disney, Joseph Pulitzer, and Nash Buckingham. Give this recipe a try, and you won't be disappointed.
What You'll Need:
4 fat greenhead mallards
2 celery stalks
1 bell pepper
2 cans of chicken broth
Konriko's Creole seasoning to taste (order from Conrad Rice Mill, New Iberia, Louisiana)
- Shoot, pluck, and clean 4 fat mallards (preferably greenheads; save mama duck)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Season ducks liberally, inside and out, with Konriko's Creole seasoning
- Cut onion and an apple into quarters, and place onion, apple, celery stalks, and sliced bell pepper in the bottom of a roasting pan. Add two cans of chicken broth and two cups of water.
- Place ducks in the roasting pan, on top of the cut vegetables. Brown in the oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
- Place lid on roasting pan and continue cooking for 2-1/2 hours or until tender.
- Remove ducks from the roasting pan and debone the breasts.
- Thicken broth in roasting pan with corn starch and replace the sliced duck breasts on top of the gravy.
Roast Teal Recipe
Created by Elise Bauer
Teal ducks pack a lot of power and are one of our favorite waterfowls to eat. Grab this recipe and take it for a spin next time you shoot one down.
What You'll Need:
Wild (not domesticated) whole duck(s), prepped (gutted, head and feet removed, plucked clean of feathers, shot and any bruised areas removed)
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Inspect duck to see if there are any remaining pin feathers, if so, remove them. Rinse the duck with water. Thoroughly pat dry with paper towels.
- Lightly stuff the duck with a sprig of rosemary, an apple slice with a few cloves poked in them to hold them in place, and a small wedge of onion.
- Slather the duck inside and out with olive oil. Sprinkle all sides of the duck with coarse salt.
- Roast the duck breast side up: Lay the duck breast up, on a roast rack in a roasting pan. Place in the middle rack of the 450°F oven. Immediately lower the heat to 425°F. Cooking times depend on the variety of the duck. Teal ducks typically weigh less than a pound and cook in 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the duck from the oven and remove to a separate rack or plate to rest, breast side down, for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the stuffing in the cavity before serving.
- While the duck is resting, if there are drippings in the roasting pan, pour off the excess fat and make gravy with the drippings (recipe found below).
- Serve ducks with wild rice and gravy.
Teal Gravy Recipe Instructions:
- Place the roasting pan on the stovetop, heat to medium, and deglaze with a little dry sherry or white wine.
- Scrape up the browned bits with a metal spatula.
- Use a metal whisk to break up the bits even further into the wine.
- Reduce and then add a little cream, (and a few juniper berries if you want an extra touch).
- Pour off into a gravy serving dish or small bowl.
Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Wild Rice
Created by Scott Leysath
This simple recipe is a variation on the traditional pairing of ducks with wild rice. While stuffing wild ducks can lead to overcooking, this dish turns duck breast fillets into tender, mouthwatering morsels. Try it out after your next hunting trip.
What You'll Need:
4 to 6 medium to large Duck Breast Fillets, Skin on or off
1 quart of ice-cold water
1/4 cup Kosher Salt
3 tablespoons Crushed Peppercorns
2 Bay Leaves, crushed
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 or 3 sprigs fresh Rosemary
- Heat 1 cup of the ice-cold water in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add remaining brine ingredients—except water—and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and stir until salt is dissolved.
- Allow to cool completely. Add remaining ice-cold water.
- Place the duck breast fillets in brine and refrigerate for 12 hours.
- Remove from brine and pat dry.
- Heat a thin layer of oil in a medium-hot skillet.
- Brown the duck breast fillets evenly on both sides.
- Allow to rest for 2 to 3 minutes, then slice and serve over wild rice and roasted bell peppers.