5 Easy Steps to Delicious Duck Breasts

by
posted on May 30, 2012
dogs_ah2015_fs.jpg (14)

For some reason professional chefs seem to really underestimate my ineptitude in their cooking instruction. They include ingredients I've never heard of or can't find at my local grocer. They use fancy equipment that I don't own and don't care to own. And they employ such fancy techniques and swiftness with their knives that my feeble brain can't keep up.

To make matters worse, whenever a chef is bold enough to discuss cooking a wild duck, he or she always wants to douse them with sugary sauce or some other masking agent. How can we trust a chef who'd cover up the naturally delicious flavor of a pan-seared duck breast?

For some reason cooking ducks intimidates many hunters. I don't know why—as long as these five very simple tips are adhered to, I'll take a duck breast over a venison backstrap any day of the week.

1. Get a cast iron skillet
Nothing puts a more even, flavorful sear on a duck breast or, for that matter, any meat than cast iron. Turn your stovetop to medium-high heat and let the skillet warm up: as a rule of thumb, five minutes for a gas stove, 10 minutes for electric. Cast iron absorbs a lot of heat and distributes it evenly. Clean-up is a bit of a chore, but it's worth the hassle.

2. Grill to "Pittsburgh Rare"
Overcooking is the No. 1 mistake made by duck chefs. Duck breasts are a dark, red meat and therefore should be left as red in the middle as you would a venison steak. Rare to medium-rare is the goal, and my personal preference is what we Pennsylvanians call "Pittsburgh Rare"--black on the outside, red in the middle. I like to get my skillet really hot, cook the breasts really fast and serve nicely seared, rare ducks. You'd swear you were eating steak.

3. Marinade
Personally I don't think there's a tastier way to prepare a breast than by removing it from the duck, adding light salt and pepper, and throwing it directly in a skillet. But most breasts are frozen before serving, and in those cases I prefer to marinate them (I really don't know why, it just seems to help them regain something lost during the freezing process). Again, I keep it simple: I love Lawry's Teriyaki "30 Minute Marinade" or a mixture of olive oil and a few dashes of salt, pepper, garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Just after the ducks come out of the skillet, sprinkle some fresh, unused marinade atop the ducks and they'll absorb it as they cool.

4. Let 'em sit
Wait five minutes before serving to lock in flavor. If you slice into any type of meat before it's had a chance to cool, the juices rush out.

5. Slice Thinly
After allowing the ducks to cool, slice the breasts thinly and serve the tender strips of meat over a bed of wild rice.

Latest

Olmsted Shooting Brass Axe
Olmsted Shooting Brass Axe

#SundayGunday: Henry Lever Action Brass Axe .410

Get a closer look at the Henry Lever Action Brass Axe .410, the latest addition to our #SundayGunday series.

The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Debating Anti-Hunters Part II

The author had an exchange about the local coyote population in Northern Virginia with a woman on social media. Their discussion serves as a good follow-up to his last article on handling anti-hunters.

Mozambique Common Sense Hunting Tips

Hunters should always be on the lookout for know-how they can use. On a buffalo hunt in Mozambique, the author was all too happy to soak up some bushcraft that can be of use to us all in North America.

Choosing the Best Optics Setup for Western Big-Game Hunting

An ideal optics setup for Western big-game hunting includes a binocular, spotting scope, rangefinder and riflescope. Here’s how to choose the best of each for your needs.  

#SundayGunday​: Bushmaster 450 Bravo Zulu

Get a closer look at the Bushmaster 450 Bravo Zulu, the latest addition to our #SundayGunday series.

Recipe: Venison Stroganoff

This recipe is quick and easy to make, and the longer you let it simmer, the better it gets.

Interests



Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.