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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 11-17-2011, 07:41 AM   #1
oldpro
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Default Smoking Wild Ducks and Geese

I've got a couple of large wild mallards that I want to smoke for Thanksgiving as hors doeuvres. We got them done commercially years ago and served at room temperature, usually with a jezabel sauce. They were generally a big hit on holiday buffets.

I would appreciate any help as to brining, cooking temps, internal temps, rubs, injections, or so forth. I'll probably use apple and cherry wood in my WSM.
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Unread 11-17-2011, 08:29 AM   #2
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As with most birds - I believe the go to temp is between 325 and 350. I would certainly brine for 12 - 24 hours and air dry for 24 hours. Bring internal temp to 165 at the breast. I don't see a need for an injection.

Just my $0.02. I could be wrong as I have absolutely no experience with wild mallard.
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Unread 11-17-2011, 08:51 AM   #3
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I love doing duck!!! Daffy was good!!!!

This is one that I did a couple of years ago but the rules still apply.
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...highlight=duck
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Unread 11-17-2011, 09:01 AM   #4
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My experience with wild mallards and other puddle ducks, is that they are best cooked no more than medium rare. A reverse sear process is the method I use on ducks. For geese, I am not a fan of Snows (or Snots) but the Specklebelly is an awesome goose to smoke. I serve mine with crawfish dressing whenever I am lucky enough to get one. When I lived in Texas (most of my life) I mainly hunted ducks because all we got for geese was Snows. Occasional I'd get a Specklebelly and that was a prize! Up here in PA, I get tons of Canada geese. There not bad but I prefer them medium rare and not smoked.
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Unread 11-17-2011, 09:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldpro View Post
I've got a couple of large wild mallards that I want to smoke for Thanksgiving as hors doeuvres. We got them done commercially years ago and served at room temperature, usually with a jezabel sauce. They were generally a big hit on holiday buffets.

I would appreciate any help as to brining, cooking temps, internal temps, rubs, injections, or so forth. I'll probably use apple and cherry wood in my WSM.
One more suggestion since you will be serving as Hors Doeuvres... Take the breast meat and filet them open so that each side makes two pieces. Then cut those piece into 1 1/2 inch wide strips. In a freezer bag, pound them down to about a quarter inch. Marinade in Italian dressing. Take a sliver of jalapeno and onion and put in the center. Sprinkle with your favorite rub. Wrap with bacon and put a toothpick through the middle. The grill them until the bacon is crispy. Everyone will be complaining that you don't have enough!
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Unread 11-17-2011, 09:23 AM   #6
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done them several ways but the way I llke best is soaked over night in melted butter and red wine with black pepper..

Cut into 1/2" x 1" rectangles

wrapped in bacon with a slice of jalopeno..

smoked fast and hot over indirect heat Above 300 untill med rare and bacon is done...
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Unread 11-17-2011, 09:27 AM   #7
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Unless you like the flavor of liver, I strongly suggest not cooking duck past medium rare.
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Unread 11-17-2011, 09:39 AM   #8
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I'm thinking that if you had the previous birds done commercially, they probably had a cure in their brine.

If the duck was slightly hammy, or had that commercially made smoked turkey type of flavor to it, then I'd bet that they did brine with nitrites.

If you brine with just salt, sugar & spices, you'll get a moist bird, but the flavor and the color will not be close to the same as you had before.

Being that you're in TX and it's hunting season, you'll probably be able to find Morton's (as in Morton salt) Tender Quick at walmart our a good local butcher shop. TQ has nitrates and nitrites in it as well as salt and a little bit of sugar. 1TBS per lb of meat is the recommended usage, you can mix it in with your brine (be sure not to add to much regular salt as the TQ has a very high salt content).

General rule of thumb for curing is to allow 24 hours per 1 inch thickness of meat in the thickest part, with duck I would think that 24-48 hours would suffice.

After brining, soak in cold water for 30-60 min and then pat dry and allow to air dry (uncovered) in the fridge for anywhere from a few hours to overnight. I use a cookie sheet with a wire cooling rack on top to set the bird on so that the skin can dry on all sides.


Now my disclaimer - I have not done a duck this way, but this is the general way to wet cure anything, and you will assuredly end up with a moist, slightly hammy bird.

For smoking, I would use apple, alder, oak or pecan and go very lightly on the smoke.

I'd treat it like a chicken and prolly cook it around 300* until it temps, FDA says 165* IT is safe for duck, even if there is a slight pink to it. Since you cured it, it will actually already have a pink sort of color to it, like the difference between ham (cured) (pink) & cooked pork (not cured) (grey).

Cranking up the heat to 350-400 for the last 15-20 min is never a bad idea for poultry to get crispy skin, so long as you're not over cooking it...

Let us know how them quackers turn out!!

Edit: Duh! Since they're wild duck, I seriously doubt you plucked them, therefore, no skin... And they are prolly in pieces...
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Unread 11-17-2011, 10:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kihrer View Post
My experience with wild mallards and other puddle ducks, is that they are best cooked no more than medium rare. A reverse sear process is the method I use on ducks. For geese, I am not a fan of Snows (or Snots) but the Specklebelly is an awesome goose to smoke. I serve mine with crawfish dressing whenever I am lucky enough to get one. When I lived in Texas (most of my life) I mainly hunted ducks because all we got for geese was Snows. Occasional I'd get a Specklebelly and that was a prize! Up here in PA, I get tons of Canada geese. There not bad but I prefer them medium rare and not smoked.
We get a lot of specks, snows, and sandhill cranes (aka Ribeye in the Sky). Take a snow goose breast and remove the membrane on the breast. Salt and pepper it generously and put olive oil on it. Grill it like a steak to medium rare and you will not believe how good it is.
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Unread 11-17-2011, 10:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KnucklHed BBQ View Post
I'm thinking that if you had the previous birds done commercially, they probably had a cure in their brine.

If the duck was slightly hammy, or had that commercially made smoked turkey type of flavor to it, then I'd bet that they did brine with nitrites.

If you brine with just salt, sugar & spices, you'll get a moist bird, but the flavor and the color will not be close to the same as you had before.

Being that you're in TX and it's hunting season, you'll probably be able to find Morton's (as in Morton salt) Tender Quick at walmart our a good local butcher shop. TQ has nitrates and nitrites in it as well as salt and a little bit of sugar. 1TBS per lb of meat is the recommended usage, you can mix it in with your brine (be sure not to add to much regular salt as the TQ has a very high salt content).

General rule of thumb for curing is to allow 24 hours per 1 inch thickness of meat in the thickest part, with duck I would think that 24-48 hours would suffice.

After brining, soak in cold water for 30-60 min and then pat dry and allow to air dry (uncovered) in the fridge for anywhere from a few hours to overnight. I use a cookie sheet with a wire cooling rack on top to set the bird on so that the skin can dry on all sides.


Now my disclaimer - I have not done a duck this way, but this is the general way to wet cure anything, and you will assuredly end up with a moist, slightly hammy bird.

For smoking, I would use apple, alder, oak or pecan and go very lightly on the smoke.

I'd treat it like a chicken and prolly cook it around 300* until it temps, FDA says 165* IT is safe for duck, even if there is a slight pink to it. Since you cured it, it will actually already have a pink sort of color to it, like the difference between ham (cured) (pink) & cooked pork (not cured) (grey).

Cranking up the heat to 350-400 for the last 15-20 min is never a bad idea for poultry to get crispy skin, so long as you're not over cooking it...

Let us know how them quackers turn out!!

Edit: Duh! Since they're wild duck, I seriously doubt you plucked them, therefore, no skin... And they are prolly in pieces...
I actually did pluck the ducks, so they still have their skin. I was pretty sure I wanted to smoke a couple of them, so I did the whole bit. I'm actually pretty good on roast duck and duck filets, and agree that medium rare is best. With the smoked ducks I had before, they were somewhat hammy. They were slow smoked, and the legs and thighs were also tender. They also came in netting from the market that smoked them. That's what I'm trying to achieve, so I'll probably use the Tender Quick brine. I'll let you know how they turn out. If I knew how I'd post pictures as well.
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Unread 11-17-2011, 10:30 AM   #11
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Wild ducks and geese I will eat medium rare and love the flavor.
Commerically processed water fowl always get to go 160 in the breast. Prefer skin scored and cook indirect at 325.
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Unread 11-17-2011, 10:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldpro View Post
We get a lot of specks, snows, and sandhill cranes (aka Ribeye in the Sky). Take a snow goose breast and remove the membrane on the breast. Salt and pepper it generously and put olive oil on it. Grill it like a steak to medium rare and you will not believe how good it is.
I am with you on the Sandhills Best bird in the sky! They'll beat the hell out of your dog if they're still kickin' though.
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Unread 11-17-2011, 10:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kihrer View Post
I am with you on the Sandhills Best bird in the sky! They'll beat the hell out of your dog if they're still kickin' though.
I just put down my 10 year old British lab last week, and she was a wonderful gundog and companion. I would never let her fetch a sandhill, even if it appeared to be dead. There have been a couple of dogs killed trying to fetch crippled sandhills. Those are big scary birds when crippled.
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Unread 11-17-2011, 12:16 PM   #14
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The last several years I have made wild duck and goose pastrami. I corn the boneless skinless breasts with a dry cure and then smoke. They have turned out wonderful.

Dry Cure (enough for about 5 lbs. of meat)
5 tbs. Morton's Tender Quick
3 tbs. Brown Sugar
2 tbs. paprika
1 tbs. allspice (ground)
1 tbs. fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder

Mix cure thouroughly. Place breasts in zip lock bags. Portion out cure over meat. Work the cure into the meat. Place bags in refridgerator. Work the bag once a day and flip bag for five days.

Soak meat in fresh cold water for one hour before smoking. Pat dry and apply garlic powder and fresh cracked pepper to the outside. Smoke until meat hits 155 degrees.
Refridgerate overnight after the smoke. Slice thinly against grain with a sharp serated blade or meat slicer. Serve with crackers and a mild cheese or serve alone with plenty of tasty holiday beverages.

If you have whole, skin-on birds you may want to try a light sugar and salt brine and then smoke to desired temp and baste during the cook.
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Unread 11-18-2011, 07:29 AM   #15
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I got a recipe on the Texas BBQ Rub website for smoking ducks that had a couple of testimonials that it was a very good recipe. Marinate ducks overnight in orange juice, kosher salt, and brown sugar. Rinse the ducks well. Inject with apple cider, and apply a dry rub. Smoke at 300 to an internal temp of 160.

I'll do a couple of the ducks this weekend on a trial run.
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