I think most of you have heard of Hank Shaw, the man behind the inspiring and informative blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook and author of the book Hunt, Gather, Cook. If you haven’t taken a look at either, you owe it to yourself as a wild-game cook to do so. As I’ve mentioned before, Hank is at the forefront of fish and wild game cookery, and he does a brilliant job of bridging the gap between hunters who cook and cooks who may or may not hunt, but are at least intrigued by the idea of locally and humanely sourced foods. He’s one guy I would love to share a dinner table (and duck blind) with someday.
Earlier this week Hank dropped me an e-mail asking for my help. Well, more accurately, asking for your help. He recently inked a deal to write what he hopes will be the definitive guide to cooking waterfowl, including both wild and domestic ducks and geese, and wants to know what you think should be included. Here’s what he’s looking for, from his blog post announcing the book deal:
“Tell me what techniques or recipes (or other information) you really want to see in this book. How to cut up a duck? How to make Peking duck? Techniques on smoking geese? That sort of thing. My hope is that this book will be as useful to novice cooks as it will be to professional chefs.”
There are many things I would like Hank’s take on, but here are two I really think are important:
Plucking vs. Skinning: I think all of us can agree plucking is the preferred method, but I’d like some honest alternatives on how to prepare skinned birds, both the breast and legs (which I’ll get to in a minute). I’d bet most waterfowl hunters skin their birds because, well, we’re lazy and skinning is way easier (and cleaner) than plucking, especially when you’re dealing with a limit of birds.
Using the Legs: I don’t preach from too many soapboxes, but one that I do frequent is filled with duck and goose (and turkey and pheasant) legs. So many guys stop with the breast meat, which is a shame because the thighs and drumsticks are equal, if not superior, to the meat from a bird’s breast. So hopefully Hank will climb up here with me and help spread the word.
So, dear readers, how about helping out a fellow Wild Chef? What is it you’d like to see in the definitive duck and goose cookbook? Post your comments below.