I snuck out last Thursday with my buddy Brian of Platte River Goose Control for a quick waterfowl recon mission. It was our first hunt of the season, and we wanted to work out the kinks before the geese arrive en masse. We also hoped to introduce ourselves to a few of the local Canadas via some 3-inch No. 2s, but all we did was get cold and wet thanks to a heavy snow. We did see plenty of ducks, however, and managed to scratch one drake mallard apiece as they swarmed into the cornfield.


Last year, Brian tipped me off to a great rub recipe which calls for, of all things, ground coffee. It’s become one of my favorite ways to cook duck breasts. After drying out last week, I whipped up a batch in anticipation of a good migration.

_Caffeinated Duck Rub
_(Also great with venison, bear, beef, and other meat)


3 tbsp. ground coffee
3 tbsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. savory herbs (thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, basil)
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. paprika


Mix together all ingredients and rub liberally on plucked or skinned duck breasts. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Longer is even better. Grill duck breasts over hot coals to desired doneness. For the best tasting duck, do not cook past medium. Medium rare is even better.