Wild duck and geese hunters prefer the lean meat of the waterfowl. However, the key to successfully cooking the meat is to understand that duck and waterfowl are not the same as cooking poultry
Wild duck is best eaten rare to medium. Similar to red meat, duck juices run red, not clear, like poultry. The meat itself is a deep garnet red. As with any wild game, make a point not to overcook it and to eliminate as much of the natural fat as possible and replace it with domestic oil or fat products, such as butter or olive oil. Fat, as you might know, is an insulator for waterfowl, and a lubricant. If there is too much fat, it will prevent the skin from crisping.
Keep in mind that diving ducks, such as scaup, ringnecks, red-heads, buffleheads, goldeneyes, ruddy ducks, oldsquaw or eiders may need to be brined in order to soften any possible fishy taste. Here are 8 mouthwatering waterfowl recipes to use the next time you have a plethora of duck meat.
Duck a l’Orange
- 1 whole duck
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 large granny smith apple
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 sage leaves
- 1 teaspoon light olive oil
For Orange Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons peach preserves
- 1-1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 3 tablespoons of duck drippings, from pan
- 1/4 cup red wine
- Sprinkle chili powder, garlic powder, and salt over duck.
- Cut 1-inch slice in skin of ducks on both sides of breasts.
- In a blender, puree garlic, sage and olive oil and add to the skin slices of duck breast.
- Chop apple into 1-inch pieces and stuff inside the cavity of duck.
- Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour 30 minutes for a slightly rare duck, or 2 hours for a well done duck.
- Put the ingredients for the L’Orange sauce in saucepan and heat until alcohol simmers off, about 6 minutes.
- Serve L’Orange sauce over sliced duck breasts or other parts.
Grilled Duck Poppers
- 2 skinless duck breasts
- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 2 slices thinly sliced bacon, cut into thirds
- 4-6 jalapenos slices lengthwise
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons cayenne
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- salt and pepper
- Preheat a grill pan or grill over medium heat.
- In a small bowl, add cream cheese and spices together and set aside.
- On a cutting board, slice each duck breast, horizontally, into 3 slices. Cover breast slices with plastic wrap and lightly pound until thin.
- Put 1 jalapeno pepper slice and 1 tablespoon Cajun cream cheese on 1 end of each slice. Roll up and wrap in a piece of the bacon. Secure the roll with a toothpick to hold the bacon in place. Repeat until all jalapenos have been used.
- Add the duck poppers to grill pan and cook just until bacon is done.
- Remove them from the grill, transfer to a serving platter and serve warm.
This recipe can be added to a crock pot and heated on low for 5 hours or prepared in a Dutch oven.
- 1 pound boneless duck breast halves, skinned and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 7 cups duck stock or beef stock
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons duck fat, lard or butter
- 1 large onion, sliced, about 3 cups
- 4 carrots, sliced
- 2 teaspoons marjoram
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
- 4 new potatoes, quartered
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 cup barley, optional
1. In a small bowl, combine minced garlic and tomato paste and set aside.
2. In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-high heat until just starting to smoke. Add half of cubed duck breast and cook until well browned on all sides, reducing heat if oil begins to smoke or fond begins to burn. Transfer browned meat to large plate. Repeat with remaining duck meat and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, leaving second batch of meat in pot after browning.
3. Reduce heat to medium and return first batch of beef to pot. Add onion and carrots to Dutch oven and stir to combine. Cook, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits, until onion is softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic/tomato mixture and broth, and cook, stirring gently until combined.
4. Slowly add wine, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any additional browned bits. Increase heat to high and allow wine to simmer until thickened and slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Stir in celery root, potatoes, onions, herbs and mushrooms. Bring to simmer and reduce heat to low. Cover, and cook for 1 1/2 hours.
Whole Roasted Duck
- 1 whole duck (5-6 lbs)
- olive oil
- 8 slices bacon
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 can lager beer
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons garlic pepper
- In a small bowl, mix the honey and olive oil together.
- Dress a whole duck with either skin on or off and rub with olive oil and honey.
- Generously season duck with seasonings and herbs and drape bacon slices on top.
- Bake duck in a 9×13 baking dish at 400 degree for 2 hours.
This recipe cannot be simpler!
- 4-5 duck breasts
- 1 can cream of mushrooms soup
- 1 cup beef broth
- In a small bowl, mix the broth and soup together.
- Add breasts to a crock pot and pour broth/soup mix over breasts and cook on low for 3-4 hours.
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups milk or buttermilk
- 1 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- Sandwich buns
- spicy mayonnaise
- Tenderize duck breasts with a meat mallet until thin.
- Add duck breasts to a bowl of milk or buttermilk for 10 minutes.
- Remove the duck breasts from the milk and pat dry.
- Mix together the flour and spices in a shallow dish. Pour the milk or buttermilk into a bowl.
- Dredge the duck breasts in the flour mixture; dip in milk. Repeat procedure with remaining duck breasts, flour mixture and milk.
- Dredge the breast in the seasoned flour a final time to ensure a nice coating.
- Heat oil in a heavy skillet to approximately 350 degrees. Carefully add duck to oil; cook 1½ minutes on each side. Remove duck from oil and place on a paper towel to drain. Season with a sprinkle of salt.
- With a knife, slather spicy mayonnaise on sandwich buns and place duck breasts in sandwich. Serve warm.
This is a delicious addition to add on top of soups, salads or warm dishes
- Duck skin
- Slice duck skin into 1-inch thin strips and sprinkle with salt. Add to frying pan.
- Over medium heat, fry until they skins become crisp.
- Place cracklins on paper towel to drain.
- Sprinkle on desired dish.
This dish comes from an old method of preserving meat by seasoning it and slowly cooking it in its own fat. The cooked meat was then packed into a crock and covered with its cooking fat which acted as a seal and preservative. This method produces a particularly tender meat.
- 3 tablespoons salt
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 shallot, peeled and sliced
- 6 sprigs thyme
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- 4 duck legs with thighs
- 4 duck wings, trimmed
- 4 cups duck fat
1. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt in the bottom of a dish or plastic container large enough to hold the duck pieces in a single layer. Evenly scatter half the garlic, shallots, and thyme in the container. Arrange the duck, skin-side up, over the salt mixture, then sprinkle with the remaining salt, garlic, shallots, and thyme and a little pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 days.
2. Preheat the oven to 225°F. Melt the duck fat in a small saucepan. Brush the salt and seasonings off the duck. Arrange the duck pieces in a single snug layer in a high-sided baking dish or ovenproof saucepan. Pour the melted fat over the duck (the duck pieces should be covered by fat) and place the confit in the oven. Cook the confit slowly at a very slow simmer — just an occasional bubble — until the duck is tender and can be easily pulled from the bone, 2-3 hours. Remove the confit from the oven. Cool and store the duck in the fat. (The confit will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.)Recipe Source 
Wild Duck Burgundy
- 2 ducks, whole
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped, fresh or dehydrated
- 2 apples, coarsely chopped, fresh for dehydrated
- 1 rib of celery, fresh or dehydrated and chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 3/4 cups red burgundy wine
- Sliced Bacon or bacon bits
- In a large baking dish, stuff cavity of ducks with onion, celery, apples, salt and pepper to taste.
- Add ½ bottle of wine. Cover stuffed ducks and marinate overnight.
- Take ducks out of juice. Add bacon bits or sliced bacon to the top of duck. Pour some marinade in bag.
- Cover baking dish and bake for 4 hours at 300 degrees or until tender.
- Cool and serve sliced meat with sauce. Garnish with paprika. Can be served with fresh rice.
- 6, peeled garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium to large goose breast fillets
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup fresh herbs (blend of parsley, oregano, rosemary, etc.)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, minced
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- Butcher string
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Toss the garlic cloves with olive oil in a shallow oven-safe pan or skillet. Place the pan in the oven for 10 minutes; flip the cloves over and cook for another 10 minutes. When done, garlic will be lightly browned and softened.
- While the garlic is roasting, place the goose breast fillets on a flat surface and butterfly them one at a time. With the knife parallel to the cutting surface and midway through the thickness of the meat, slice each fillet from the thinnest side to the thickest. Do not slice all of the way through the fillet. The object is to butterfly the fillet so that it opens up like a book with the “hinge” at the thicker part of the meat. Next, lightly pound the meat with a mallet or heavy skillet so that it is of equal thickness throughout. Season both sides liberally with salt and pepper.
- Remove the pan from the oven and the roasted garlic cloves from the pan, leaving the oil in the pan. Increase the oven heat to 400 degrees. Place the cloves in a bowl with Parmesan, pine nuts, herbs, lemon zest, and breadcrumbs. Stir to blend the mixture. Place fillets, cut side up, on a flat surface and spread the garlic mixture evenly over the meat. Roll up the meat, keeping the stuffing in place with your fingers while rolling. Secure each rolled fillet with butcher string.
- Place the stuffed fillets in the pan, and put the pan in the preheated oven. Roast for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Flip the fillets over and roast for 8 additional minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees for medium-rare.
- Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the fillets to a cutting surface. Let them rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before removing the string and slicing the meat into 1-inch-thick medallions.
*Quick Pan Sauce While the cooked meat is resting, add 1/2 cup of dry red wine to the roasting pan. Place over a medium-hot burner and bring to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup diced tomato (canned is okay), and a pinch each of Italian seasoning and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle sauce over stuffed goose medallions.Recipe adapted from Ducks.org 
For more delicious ways to prepare wild game and water-fowl, click here.