Recipe FAILS: Grapefruit Pheasant & Mallard Pizza

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posted on September 25, 2012
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With wild-game concoctions by Georgia Pellegrini, your fellow NRA members and even a few dishes I've spotted, AmericanHunter.org is chock-full of good recipes. However, are all these cooking successes and the pretty photos accompanying them very realistic?

Not if they were prepared by any hunter-chefs I know. Take my buddy Bob St. Pierre of Pheasants Forever, who recently experienced an event with which I'm all too familiar: a complete culinary disaster. On his blog, The Pointer, Bob writes:

I dug out a plucked pheasant from the basement chest freezer and was inspired to create Grapefruit Honey Pheasant. To my thinking, honey, with its sweetness and caramelizing nature, was a safe bet to start the recipe. And without the natural complimentary ingredient of oranges in our fridge, I grabbed for its citrus cousin, a grapefruit. That’s where I made a “bitter” mistake. While the photos may mislead you to believe I’ve accomplished a new pheasant dining masterpiece, I’ll warn you not to try this recipe at home. The bitter citrus of the grapefruit simply did not marry well with the honey’s sweetness. While Meredith and I were able to finish the meal without a pizza delivery necessary, I wouldn’t recommend replicating this experiment in your own roaster.

At the end of Bitter Bob's post, he asks readers to submit their own wild-game flops. I'll play along.

I've spent the last three seasons trying to perfect Papa Wintersteen's Mallard Pizza. To my palate, medium-rare duck breasts with a nice crispy sear taste like lean, sweet beef. Therefore, since beef makes such a fine pizza topping, why not duck?

On paper it sounds great. In practice my results have been, well, disgusting. For my first attempt, I cut the duck breast into bite-size chunks, browned them, placed them on the pizza and put it in the oven. Gee, what could have gone wrong? The duck was dry, overcooked and had that livery flavor that bad duck chefs know all too well. Those who enjoy anchovies on their pies may have enjoyed it, but my dog barely ate it.

My next iterations have been equally appalling. While I'm able to keep the duck medium-rare by searing it and adding it to a finished pie, when combined with my pizza sauce it results in something that ought to be fed to the garbage can.

So, make Bob and me feel better. What are some of your wild-game disasters?

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