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Recipe: A Wood Duck Dish Worth Whistling About

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January 08, 2010

Recipe: A Wood Duck Dish Worth Whistling About

By David DiBenedetto

Back during dove season I posted a recipe that blew away any other that I had tried when it came to that popular game bird. Recently I cooked another new recipe on some of the wood ducks that were part of Pritchard’s first hunt in the swamp. What I loved about the recipe was that it used maple syrup to enhance the woodies’ flavor, which made it a perfect paring for the salty, smoky wonderfulness of Southern collard greens. My wife, Jenny, also added roasted acorn squash to the dish.

But I committed the mortal sin when it comes to the wood duck…I cooked it a wee bit too long. Go ahead, I’ll take the 10 lashes now.

Still, the recipe, which came from a duck-hunting buddy, is worth passing along. In the hands of better chef the potential could truly be unlocked. In mine, I ended up with slightly over-cooked duck. Still tasty, but leaving me with no doubt that Iron Chef Morimoto would chop me up with a Ginzu on the Kitchen Stadium floor.

Maple-Glazed Duck Breasts

Ingredients:

Duck breasts, sliced in cubes with the grain of the muscle

Pepper

8 tbsp. maple syrup

8 tbsp. (1 stick) of butter, melted

Instructions:

1. Cube duck breasts and thread onto skewers. Season liberally with pepper.

2. Mix together maple syrup and melted butter. Brush mixture onto skewered duck.

3. Grill until medium rare, basting regularly. Be careful not to overcook.

Have a favorite duck recipe that the rest of us need to know about? Unload it on us. As always, I’m curious to hear your thoughts. We’ve got birds in the freezer that need some loving.

Comments (22)

Top Rated
All Comments
from idduckhntr wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Sounds great! Will it wor with any duck? Woodies are hard to come by in my neck of the woods.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from pinopolis wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I think a sweet glaze is key. I have a friend that rubs the breasts in dry asian rub, then bastes them with a ginger/garlic/chile glaze while they grill. serves them with grilled onions and warm tortillas. yum.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogwood wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I recommend to you one of the finest bits of outdoor writing which happens to relate to duck hunting, drinking, carousing, cooking and eating ducks: "The Great Duck Misunderstanding" which appears in Dark Waters by Russell Chatham, 1988. Any quality duck cooked beyond rare to medium rare is an insult to both duck and diner. I lightly coat duck with olive oil and salt and pepper. Oil is necessary only for salt and pepper to adhere. With gas grill on high, I place duck on a beer can type cooker, the type consisting of a smal pan with wire frame to hold the duck vertical, and close the lid. Temperature exceeds 500 degrees. For a woodie, 15 minutes. Mallard, 20 minutes. The rarer the better. After slicing off as much breast meat as possible, picking the carcass clean by teeth and fingers is not for the faint of heart to watch; best clear the room of women and children. Towels work better than napkins as grease and blood will run down the arms. Pass the salt and pepper, please.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Medium rare duck or goose breast is oh-so delicious! A quick pan searing in olive oil, garlic, salt, oinions and pepper. Goes great with rice or cowboy potatoes.

The only other real good way I've done them is to marinade in a mixture of half soy sauce, half lemon lime sodfa, generous amounts of garlic and onion powder, and a splash of worcheshire sauce. marinade overnight and then wrap in bacon and grill.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from TJ wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

My friend roasts his ducks with salt pepper, sage, and anise it's very good. Or take a peice of duck breast and half a halepeno(spelling) filled with cream cheese and wrap them with bacon the grill.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 86Ram wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Thank you for the recipe... my mouths watering ...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Blitz wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I like to cut the duck breast into thin slices, apply salt and pepper to the slices, and then cook them in a hot skillet coated with clarified butter. It only takes about 20 to 30 seconds a side and always tastes great.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from vtbluegrass wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

People you have got to try spreading a little basil pesto on your duck breast fillets rolling them up and grilling to the afor mentioned medium-rare. if you have skinless duck breasts a little bacon will keep it extra juicy.
iduckhtr - most any puddle duck(non diver will work with most duck recipes). Divers may require a little marinating depending on the food sources in your area. I live on the carolina coast and we get a lot of divers; especially bluebills, ruddys, and buffleheads. They may require a bit of a soak to remove the mussle taste. Salt water works well but 7-up, sprite, and dr pepper replace the taste of old clams with some sweetness that makes them a delicacy in their own right. The right marinade can make what many call trash ducks very tasty.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kelmitch wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Looks like a great plate Dave!I like the choice of vegtables.I cant wait to try it out.We do have wood ducks here there are many that frequent even Carters WMU in the flooded timber.Sounds like a must for next year.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ingebrigtsen wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Well not to offend anyone but to me duck is a bit domestic, and u can find good recipies in almost every culture. how bout cormorant?? anyone tried it??
Butter in iron caserole, lightly brown then add a bit of flour, as much as the butter can absorb.. then water. yeah just water, no wine.. whisk it smooth then add whatever u consider good in a game sauce.. then bout a pint of full creme.. some laural leaves, black pepper finely ground and a good pinch of salt.. taste.. then season as suitable.. good u now have the basis..
cormorant meat: drumsticks and breasts and heart.. rest is rubbish unless your starving.. no skin and cut off any fat u see.. any.. and if u wanna make sure soak in vinegar water over night.. then take frying pan, good butter lighly browned, then stick in the meat and seal it.. after, just drop it into the pot of gravy and let it simmer as long as u can wait, and have patience.. too little time and the meats only grey and like chewing rubber.. there really is no advantage to having this meat red inside.. none.. serve with root veggis, taters, rice, whatever u like, and eat
till u think your gonna throw up :)
works with alot of "non game fowl" like seagulls, crow etc. too..
ive eaten seagull like that soo good u couldnt tempt me with the finest french cuisine pheasant.. and im not kidding.. cooking is a passion for me and i do it better than any woman i know even taking into account my mom.. (dammit she would kill me if i told her :P)
And good cooking is simple.. u start from too easy every time u start cooking something new and learn to elaborate on the recipy to dial it in..
the missis might make a mean beanstew or whatever, but noone ever challenges me on the meat on the BBQ ;)
and im really trying not to brag cos it was easy to learn and after a few seasons i dialed it in so much that both wifey and mom ainth got nothing on me :P

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogwood wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Dear Ingebrigtsen,

In the recipes I have seen for the less than glamorous denizens of river, marsh and field, it appears you have omitted the most important ingredient/utensil: the wooden plank, usually oak or cedar. The ingredients are placed on top of the plank, and after cooking all but the plank are discarded and the dinner guests eat the plank.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ingebrigtsen wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

spoken like a true denizen of processed meat culture dogwood, afraid of trying something new ;)

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogwood wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Actually, Ingebrigtsen, oakplank is not too bad-and it is legal to eat. ;) Correct me if I err, but aren't gulls and cormorants protected species in the U.S.? Everynow and then someone introduces a bill to strip protection from cormorants, but I don't think any have passed so far.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

damn, i'm hungry!!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ingebrigtsen wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Imm norwegian.. and they r tasty:P

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Douglas wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Good recipes all! To me, woodies are the finest table fare of the wild fowls. That said, I would like to try crow using ingebrigtsens ideas.
Try this product with your wild food when it becomes available on the market. It a knockout! Roasted Butternut squash seed oil. www.wholeheartedfoods.com.
David,
Did you find many wood ducks in your spot? They seemed down by 30% this year where I hunt.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Douglas,

From my perspective it's been a pretty good year for woodies down here. In fact, I was out yesterday morning just north of Charleston near the Santee River and there were real good numbers of them. -D

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Sounds good, might even work on some pheasant!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from cindypiep wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Here is a recipe that my husband got from a good hunting buddy.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 tea ginger
2 tea garlic powder
Mix thoroughly and merinade duck breasts for minimum
of 30 minutes. Grill to medium rare but don't over
cook..enjoy

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jen24 wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

Marinate the cubes of duck breast in a sauce of
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tbs honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp ground coriander
a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jen24 wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

If you're grilling the breasts, baste them with a mixture of honey and oil (one part honey to one part oil).

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nolan wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

cut the duck breast in half the short way, then wrap it in bacon and put a half a jalopeno pepper filled with cream cheese in it and grill. YUM!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from ingebrigtsen wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Well not to offend anyone but to me duck is a bit domestic, and u can find good recipies in almost every culture. how bout cormorant?? anyone tried it??
Butter in iron caserole, lightly brown then add a bit of flour, as much as the butter can absorb.. then water. yeah just water, no wine.. whisk it smooth then add whatever u consider good in a game sauce.. then bout a pint of full creme.. some laural leaves, black pepper finely ground and a good pinch of salt.. taste.. then season as suitable.. good u now have the basis..
cormorant meat: drumsticks and breasts and heart.. rest is rubbish unless your starving.. no skin and cut off any fat u see.. any.. and if u wanna make sure soak in vinegar water over night.. then take frying pan, good butter lighly browned, then stick in the meat and seal it.. after, just drop it into the pot of gravy and let it simmer as long as u can wait, and have patience.. too little time and the meats only grey and like chewing rubber.. there really is no advantage to having this meat red inside.. none.. serve with root veggis, taters, rice, whatever u like, and eat
till u think your gonna throw up :)
works with alot of "non game fowl" like seagulls, crow etc. too..
ive eaten seagull like that soo good u couldnt tempt me with the finest french cuisine pheasant.. and im not kidding.. cooking is a passion for me and i do it better than any woman i know even taking into account my mom.. (dammit she would kill me if i told her :P)
And good cooking is simple.. u start from too easy every time u start cooking something new and learn to elaborate on the recipy to dial it in..
the missis might make a mean beanstew or whatever, but noone ever challenges me on the meat on the BBQ ;)
and im really trying not to brag cos it was easy to learn and after a few seasons i dialed it in so much that both wifey and mom ainth got nothing on me :P

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ingebrigtsen wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

spoken like a true denizen of processed meat culture dogwood, afraid of trying something new ;)

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from idduckhntr wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Sounds great! Will it wor with any duck? Woodies are hard to come by in my neck of the woods.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from pinopolis wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I think a sweet glaze is key. I have a friend that rubs the breasts in dry asian rub, then bastes them with a ginger/garlic/chile glaze while they grill. serves them with grilled onions and warm tortillas. yum.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogwood wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I recommend to you one of the finest bits of outdoor writing which happens to relate to duck hunting, drinking, carousing, cooking and eating ducks: "The Great Duck Misunderstanding" which appears in Dark Waters by Russell Chatham, 1988. Any quality duck cooked beyond rare to medium rare is an insult to both duck and diner. I lightly coat duck with olive oil and salt and pepper. Oil is necessary only for salt and pepper to adhere. With gas grill on high, I place duck on a beer can type cooker, the type consisting of a smal pan with wire frame to hold the duck vertical, and close the lid. Temperature exceeds 500 degrees. For a woodie, 15 minutes. Mallard, 20 minutes. The rarer the better. After slicing off as much breast meat as possible, picking the carcass clean by teeth and fingers is not for the faint of heart to watch; best clear the room of women and children. Towels work better than napkins as grease and blood will run down the arms. Pass the salt and pepper, please.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Medium rare duck or goose breast is oh-so delicious! A quick pan searing in olive oil, garlic, salt, oinions and pepper. Goes great with rice or cowboy potatoes.

The only other real good way I've done them is to marinade in a mixture of half soy sauce, half lemon lime sodfa, generous amounts of garlic and onion powder, and a splash of worcheshire sauce. marinade overnight and then wrap in bacon and grill.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from TJ wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

My friend roasts his ducks with salt pepper, sage, and anise it's very good. Or take a peice of duck breast and half a halepeno(spelling) filled with cream cheese and wrap them with bacon the grill.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 86Ram wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Thank you for the recipe... my mouths watering ...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Blitz wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I like to cut the duck breast into thin slices, apply salt and pepper to the slices, and then cook them in a hot skillet coated with clarified butter. It only takes about 20 to 30 seconds a side and always tastes great.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from vtbluegrass wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

People you have got to try spreading a little basil pesto on your duck breast fillets rolling them up and grilling to the afor mentioned medium-rare. if you have skinless duck breasts a little bacon will keep it extra juicy.
iduckhtr - most any puddle duck(non diver will work with most duck recipes). Divers may require a little marinating depending on the food sources in your area. I live on the carolina coast and we get a lot of divers; especially bluebills, ruddys, and buffleheads. They may require a bit of a soak to remove the mussle taste. Salt water works well but 7-up, sprite, and dr pepper replace the taste of old clams with some sweetness that makes them a delicacy in their own right. The right marinade can make what many call trash ducks very tasty.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kelmitch wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Looks like a great plate Dave!I like the choice of vegtables.I cant wait to try it out.We do have wood ducks here there are many that frequent even Carters WMU in the flooded timber.Sounds like a must for next year.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogwood wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Actually, Ingebrigtsen, oakplank is not too bad-and it is legal to eat. ;) Correct me if I err, but aren't gulls and cormorants protected species in the U.S.? Everynow and then someone introduces a bill to strip protection from cormorants, but I don't think any have passed so far.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

damn, i'm hungry!!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ingebrigtsen wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Imm norwegian.. and they r tasty:P

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Douglas wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Good recipes all! To me, woodies are the finest table fare of the wild fowls. That said, I would like to try crow using ingebrigtsens ideas.
Try this product with your wild food when it becomes available on the market. It a knockout! Roasted Butternut squash seed oil. www.wholeheartedfoods.com.
David,
Did you find many wood ducks in your spot? They seemed down by 30% this year where I hunt.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from cindypiep wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Here is a recipe that my husband got from a good hunting buddy.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 tea ginger
2 tea garlic powder
Mix thoroughly and merinade duck breasts for minimum
of 30 minutes. Grill to medium rare but don't over
cook..enjoy

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nolan wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

cut the duck breast in half the short way, then wrap it in bacon and put a half a jalopeno pepper filled with cream cheese in it and grill. YUM!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogwood wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Dear Ingebrigtsen,

In the recipes I have seen for the less than glamorous denizens of river, marsh and field, it appears you have omitted the most important ingredient/utensil: the wooden plank, usually oak or cedar. The ingredients are placed on top of the plank, and after cooking all but the plank are discarded and the dinner guests eat the plank.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Douglas,

From my perspective it's been a pretty good year for woodies down here. In fact, I was out yesterday morning just north of Charleston near the Santee River and there were real good numbers of them. -D

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Sounds good, might even work on some pheasant!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jen24 wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

Marinate the cubes of duck breast in a sauce of
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tbs honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp ground coriander
a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jen24 wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

If you're grilling the breasts, baste them with a mixture of honey and oil (one part honey to one part oil).

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment