The first thing to consider when preparing ducks or geese is for you to know what the meat is supposed to taste like. It does not taste like chicken! Most, if not all ducks taken on the Eastern Shore should taste like a good cut of lean roast beef. The most common mistake made, is over cooking. No matter how you cook your bird the meat should remain pinkish in the middle.
The birds taken along the east coast may taste different than the birds taken further inland, that doesn't mean bad, just different. These are the same birds taken by the "Market Hunters" years ago and shipped to restaurants all over the country. In most of the methods listed, you can cook Canvas Backs, Pintails, Mallards, Sea ducks, Bufflehead and Mergansers all together and not be able to tell the difference. The following are some suggestions for “simple recipes” for ducks and geese from Virginia duck hunters.
Either crock pot or slow roast in broth, pull meat and use for tacos, enchiladas & burrito. - Joe McGuire
Brine in water, 2 parts sugar, 1 part salt over night. Rinse thoroughly then marinade in Terriaki & Soy sauce mixture. I do about 2/3 Terriaki & 1/3 Soy and marinade it for 2 hours in a sealed bag. Pan fry to medium rare, serve with fried rice and veggies. - Josh Lutcher
Apples and Celery do wonders. - David Shourds
One of the best, and I use it on Sea ducks. Wrap strips of bacon, pin on metal kabobs and grill for easy clean up – grease can burn off. Also Google “flying prime rib” - Peter Ponder
Google; fieldandstreamvideosduckpoppers - Michael Cawley
Butterfly breasts, fill with diced Jalapeño peppers and cream cheese, wrap with bacon, bake or broil until done. - Herb Gammons
Slice breasts into one inch strips, throw them into a crock pot, fill the crock pot up with either Giardiniera (if you know what that is, you “Southerner's” kill me) or apple cider until it's almost over the meat, but not quite. Let it cook for 7 to 8 hours. Drain the liquid, pull the meat apart with 2 forks. This should be easy, the meat should be falling apart by now. When thats done mix in some of your favorite BBQ. - Payne Manczko
I let birds rest in fridge for at least 5 days. If you age your meat it's hard to beat a good pan fry. No more than med, med rare is better. - Joe McGuire
I cleaned a whole goose up one time, stuffed a can of beer and a apple in the innard area, threw it in the oven on bake like a turkey. I don't remember how long I cooked it but it was absolute perfection. Even the non wild game people at the party were eating the holiday goose. - Andrew Jordan (I'm thinking the can of beer was open?)
Pick whole bird. Grill on med high heat 5 min per side. Start on breast and turn a quarter turn at a time, total 20 min. Plum preserves heated as a sauce. Serve with rice and gravy. - Andy Martel
Duck Chili ; 1 can crushed tomatoes, 1 can diced tomatoes (drained), 1 can red kidney beans (drained), 1 can tomato paste, all cans the same size except the paste, chili powder & diced Jalapeño pepper to taste. Cube and lightly brown duck breasts in oil. Simmer on low heat for 1/2 hour, stir often. - Capt. Pete
Season with salt & pepper. Brown the meat in butter. Once it's all browned, cover with orange juice and simmer it slowly, cooking it down to a thick gravy. Be very careful when it gets close to being done, it will scorch. Season with salt & pepper. Place meat in a bowl, add enough Italian dressing to cover all meat. Soak for 2 to 3 days, stirring a couple of time per day. When soaked long enough, take meat and wrap around small whole canned potato, then wrap bacon around that. Use tooth pics to hold together. Once they are all prepared, cook to desired taste. I prefer medium to medium well. These go over very well, have never had a complaint. Most time they are eaten as fast as they come off the grill. - Ira Buck
There are many other recipes, both simple and more complex. Don't over cook it and know what to expect when you eat it. If you shot it, you know it's fresh. Clean it promptly and care for it correctly.
If you are hunting with us, we have bird cleaners that charge $3.00 per bird to breast them. They charge $2.00 per bird if you don't want them and they will get them to someone that will eat them. They must abide by federal and state regulations on possession limits and they, nor anyone else is allowed to sell them. But please if you shoot them, don't waste them.
Oh ya, put them in a pan with olive oil, garlic, onions, salt & pepper and saute them. Don't over cook the damn things.
Divers and sea ducks don't eat fish. Puddle ducks eat fish, among other things. Mergansers eat a lot of fish, so do people. Just because you eat fish doesn't mean that you taste like fish. No comments on that please.
For additional information please contact Capt. Pete Wallace: