As duck season begins, we bring you a unique recipe from one of our field pros and partners, John Wallace. We will continue to post recipes and methods of cooking all different types of waterfowl throughout the season- enjoy!
Duck season is now upon us. It’s important to note, not every duck or goose you shoot this year needs to be marinated for 4 days and or wrapped in bacon. Here is a simple way to get the most out of your duck breast, impress your hunting buddies (and or your better half), and start the season off right. The following recipe will work with about any puddle duck.
The best duck cooking technique I’ve found is to cook like skin-on chicken thighs. So, make sure you pluck the duck breasts so that the skin/fat remains intact. **NOTE: This recipe can be successful with or without skin, however, with skin is the preferred choice here.
- 2 large duck breasts (skin on preferred) – adjust seasonings accordingly based on cooking more ducks
- Extra Virgin Olive oil
- RELOAD Rub – Fully Loaded (or your favorite duck seasoning, but RELOAD is preferred)
- Light Brown Sugar
- Coarse Kosher salt
After plucking the duck and cutting out the breasts, soak them in a large bowl of cold water (no salt is needed) for a period of 1-4 hours to help remove all feathers, excess blood, etc. (changing out the water often/as needed). Its best to dry age your duck in the fridge for a few days, this process helps get much of the “gamey” flavor most are accustomed to with most waterfowl. First, place duck breasts in a container with plenty of paper towels on the bottom (If you are looking to cook a handful of ducks, make sure there are paper towels in between each layer). Place meat side down, cover, and place in back of the fridge for 2-4 days (replacing paper towels as needed).
Remove from fridge and place on the counter for an hour to help bring closer to room temp. Remove paper towels and place on cutting board. Score the skin (not the meat) as seen below.
Then season the entire breast with a mixture of 3 tbsp of Fully Loaded @reloadrub (www.reloadrub.com) and 1 tbsp of light brown sugar. This bold/sweet flavor combo is deadly on waterfowl. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the breast and rub it into the breast on all sides. Wait 20mins. While waiting, preheat your skillet (cast iron is preferred) to medium-LOW. Place skin side down. The intent here is to cook them slowly so the fat renders out, making the skin crispy, ~7-10 mins (If cooking more than 2 breasts, do not over crowd the skillet). You shouldn't see the breast cooking very much, just the fat rendering out. As most of the fat renders out, you can then turn heat to medium, eventually Medium-high (make sure not to burn the seasoning due to the sugar component). Continue cooking for another minute or 2 to desired crispiness and then flip. After flipping, place a plate/weight over the breasts to help create more of a consistent sear on the bottom side. Cook for another 2-3mins and then promptly remove the duck from the pan and allow it to rest for about 6-8mins (skin side up) before slicing. Slice thinly, lightly sprinkle with kosher salt, and serve.
*NOTE. Keep your legs/thighs and Heart/livers for other applications. All are great eating if prepared properly. Make sure to follow John on instagram at @wildgamecook for many other great tips for cooking wild game!