Many waterfowl hunters breast ducks and continually look for new ways to utilize the lean, dense protein. Without the skin and fat of the bird to help keep in moisture, the dark breast meat can be challenging to cook.
If one looks at recipe books for preparing the dark meat of fowl, fruit is often used to enhance tastes, and keep the meat moist and palatable. One fruit that is often overlooked is dates; they’re sweet, dense, full of fiber and pair wonderfully with waterfowl. Add a little cheese, and a simple duck breast can be transformed into a succulent dinner offering in which guests will be asking for seconds.
To prepare the duck, try a Weston Brands manual meat cuber/tenderizer. Running a duck breast through the blades of the tenderizer helps flatten it out, cuts muscle fibers to make it tender, and doubles the size of an average breast when laid out on a cutting board. I like to refer to these duck cutlets as “ducklet.” You can make ducklets with plastic wrap and a meat mallet, pounding the breasts flat.
Whenever possible, I cook the Duck & Date Rolls on a Camp Chef SmokePro to add a hint of smoke, control the temperature and ensure the duck is cooked perfectly. You can use a barbecue or even finish the rolls by baking them in an oven.
• 8 boneless, skinless duck breasts
• 8 fresh dates
• ½ cup cream cheese
• ½ cup barbecue sauce
1. Make cutlets out of duck breasts by running them through a tenderizer or pounding them out with a meat mallet.
2. Slice dates along one side, remove the pit, and stuff with cream cheese.
3. Roll the flattened duck breast around the date, ensuring it is tight and won’t fall apart. Use toothpicks to hold together, if needed.
4. Smoke or grill duck rolls over medium heat until medium, or medium rare.
5. Add a touch of your favorite barbecue sauce for the last minute or two on the grill. Bearded Butcher BBQ sauce is a staple in our kitchen.
6. Serve duck rolls hot off the grill as a starter or part of the main course.