As a novice duck hunter- I’ve gleaned a few things about the sport that have influenced my meal decision. Here’s some background.
You do any bit of research on youtube or instagram on duck hunting and you may be tempted to believe duck hunting is limited to shooting mallard drakes, the most recognizable duck with greenheads often floating around the local golf course. But there are many different types of ducks, at least as many as 41 different species, that range is size, region and taste.
The culture around shooting greenheads is understandable. For one, It’s a conservation decision by singling out the males a hunter is protecting the future flock numbers, it’s a meat yield decision due to the mallards size, and it’s also a taste decision as the taste can be very affected by a duck’s diet.
Ducks fall into two categories grain eating puddle ducks: mallards, pintails, gadwalls and teal, for starters and the “divers” are your buffleheads, scaup, redheads, etc. Many of the grain eaters can be eaten without much prep and thoroughly enjoyed. They have a rich and tasty “duck fat” layer on top of a delicious red meat. However, in my own experience, I’ve been tempted to avoid the divers because of a rumored fishy and gamey taste.
I’ve been encouraged by groups like Hunt41 which recognize that all 41 species of recognized ducks from scaup to bufflehead, pintails to wigeon can all be enjoyed. Here, Hunt41 promotes that duck hunting is more about enjoying the opportunities that are available and using each resource to its fullest. Hunters can be encouraged by more opportunities for duck hunting by considering region, seasons, access to land, and experience. We should all enjoy our resources and with that the opportunity that comes our way. I wanted to do my due diligence to share a great meal out of what is available to me.
In lieu of that fact, I eagerly accepted a gift from my friend to bring an assortment of ducks to our monthly gathering. I wanted to make a quick and easy meal, but one that also tasted great and would get people excited enough to look into giving duck hunting a try.
The Marinated Seared Duck breast:
The recipe consists of all “divers” 2 redheads, 2 bufflehead, and 2 ruddy ducks. I served the seared duck with Sourdough bread, brie cheese, and a pepper Orange Marmalade from Trader Joes.
- 6 duck breasts-
- ¼ cup of worchestershire saurce,
- 1 tablespoon Siracha
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
From your harvested duck- begin by breasting out the duck. The first time I breasted a duck, I was able to find a super easy to follow video on youtube.
Cut out the duck breast in one piece and remove. Remove the skin.
The skin is an extra layer of skin and fat that often contains oil and affects the taste.
After breasting out the ducks- removing the skin, brine your duck for 1 hour.
For this step- I grabbed a medium size mixing bowl, added cool water, about 2 tablespoons of salt and let rest at room temperature for an hour. This should also help remove the gamey or fishy taste in the duck.
In a new bowl—Add your Worcestershire sauce your minced garlic,Olive oil, Sriracha all together and stir.
Add duck into a gallon size Ziploc bag- pour your mariate in to follow. After sealing your Ziplock leave in the fridge for 1-12 hours.
Remove when ready to cook.
Heat your pan or grill to a medium to high heat. 350-400.
- I can’t encourage you enough to watch “how to brown meat” on the Meateater site by Wild and Whole. https://www.themeateater.com/cook/cooking-techniques/how-to-properly-brown-ground-meat.
Add a quick layer of sear on the outside - 3-4 minutes on each side depending on heat of the grill .
Cook Duck to Medium medium rare.
Serve with your choice of cheese, red grapes, marmalade, crackers, wine, or any other charcuterie that you wish.