Delta Waterfowl offers tips for preparing ducks and geese

I’ll admit I don’t care for the taste of waterfowl, which is one of the reasons I seldom hunt ducks and geese anymore.

A news release from Delta Waterfowl hit my inbox this morning, though, and it describes a recent ice fishing excursion in which Delta president Rob Olson deep-fried four mallards in peanut oil right on the ice. The mallards, which had been plucked, were injected with marinate and cooked medium-rare.

“I can’t remember duck tasting so good,” Olson said. The way he prepared the birds does, indeed, sound tasty.

Duck au vin (Duck braised in wine). Photo courtesy of Delta Waterfowl.

Olson also offered some tips for preparing ducks and geese. So, if you’ve got some birds from this past fall in your freezer, here are some things to try, courtesy of Delta Waterfowl:

1. Thaw out your birds thoroughly before preparing. The best way is to let them thaw in the refrigerator. If you’re short on time, fill a large pot with cool water and place the still-wrapped bird in it. It should thaw within two hours. Be sure the frozen bird is properly sealed or it will get waterlogged.

2. Clean your birds thoroughly. Be sure it get everything out of the cavity — everything.

3. Soak meat in milk and onions overnight to pull out blood and gamey taste.

4. Let meat come to room temperature before you cook it. Always pat it dry before cooking.

5. Cook ducks hot and fast or low and slow.

6. Roasted ducks should be cooked no more than medium-rare. Grilled duck breasts too. No exceptions.

7. Let your birds rest (five minutes, perhaps longer) after they’re done cooking. Resting allows juices to redistribute and stay in the meat; cut into it too soon and you’ll have a soaked cutting board. Resting also allows the birds’ flavor to set up and intensify.

8. Save the carcasses and scraps to make stock, which you can use in gravies or sauces.

9. Sauces and side dishes are an important part of wild-game cookery. Find a few to enhance and accompany your ducks and geese. You won’t be sorry.

10. The internet is an invaluable tool to learn more about cooking waterfowl and other wild game.

11. Be bold and experiment. Don’t worry about failure. Just thaw some birds and start. Make it a celebration.

For more information, including recipes and how-to videos, click here:

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