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Duck and Goose Recipes

smoked duck slices

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

While most wild ducks enjoy a good reputation, geese are undeservedly maligned as greasy, livery and tough. Yes, they can be all these things, but properly done, a wild goose (or a domestic, for that matter) is essentially a large duck. A normal wild goose, such as a Canada, Snow or Whitefront will feed four, while a small goose (Cackler, Aleutian or Ross’) will serve two heartily. A domestic goose or a Giant Canada (really any Canada larger than 10 pounds) can serve as many as six.

Don’t overcook waterfowl breasts or they will be livery. Rare-to-medium is the mantra. As for the legs, thighs and wings, slow cook them to make them tender. Duck and goose legs are not nearly as tough as pheasant legs because waterfowl don’t do as much walking around. But their wings can be very tough.

If you find yourself with diving ducks, such as scaup, ringnecks, red-heads, buffleheads, goldeneyes, ruddy ducks, oldsquaw or eiders (or brant, for that matter) You may need to brine them to soften any possible fishy taste. One easy way to tell is to cut off the “Pope’s Nose,” or tail of the duck, and render out the fat in a small frying pan. If the fat smells icky, brine the duck with salt, sugar and garlic, plus any aromatic herbs that strike your fancy.

A note on all recipes: If you use domestic geese or ducks for any of them, it is vital that after you thaw them out, you remove all of the body cavity fat and then prick the skin all around with the point of a filet knife or something else narrow and pointy. Domestic geese are flying pigs, raised for their delicious fat as much as their meat.


Jump to: PREP WORK | STUFF TO KNOW | MASTER RECIPES | RECIPES BY PART OF BIRD

Basics

These are some baseline techniques and skills you need to know to be a good duck and goose cook. Below them are some master recipes, and then other recipes broken down by the part of the bird.

PREP WORK

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My video for plucking ducks or geese with hot water and melted paraffin wax:

If you only have a few ducks to pluck, or don’t want to use hot wax, here is my video for dry-plucking a duck or goose:

My video for skinning a duck or goose. I skin sea ducks, fishy divers and snow geese:

My video for cleaning a gizzard. Gizzards have a lot of meat, but can be persnickety to clean:

How to Break Down a Duck or Goose

Basic instructions on how to cut up a whole duck or goose. These instructions work with pretty much any bird.

STUFF TO KNOW

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Wild Game Fat and Flavor

What you need to know about the relationship between wild duck and goose fat, and flavor. In many cases the duck’s fat is the best part of the bird, but in others — like sea ducks — it is the worst.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

How to Render Duck Fat

Basic instructions on how to render your own duck or goose fat.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

On Eating Swans

Eating swans — which are legal game in nine states — isn’t a whole lot different from geese or ducks, but there are some tips you need to know.

MASTER RECIPES

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Photo by Holly A. Heyser

How to Cook a Duck Breast

Step by step instructions on how to pan-sear a duck breast to make the skin extra crispy and the meat medium-rare.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Roast Wild Duck

Simple instructions on how to roast a wild duck. Use this with most wild birds, or with Muscovy ducks.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Slow Roasted Duck

Use these instructions when you are roasting a very fat wild bird or a domesticated duck.

Roast Canvasback Duck

When you have a canvasback duck, this is the only way you should cook it. A special recipe for a special bird.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

How to Make Smoked Duck

A master recipe for smoking ducks and geese. This works with both wild and domesticated birds.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Wild Duck or Goose Jerky

Another master recipe, this time for jerky. My seasonings are allspice, chile, thyme and mushroom powder, but you can use whatever spice mix you want.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Duck Fat Hollandaise

You read it right: Hollandaise sauce, using duck fat instead of butter. Yeah, I went there. It’s awesome.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

English Duck Pie

It’s like a British pork pie, only with wild duck. A great use for “off” ducks like scoters or snow geese.

RECIPES BY PART OF THE BIRD

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Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Duck and Goose Breast Recipes

Recipes for both skin-on and skinless duck and goose recipes.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Legs, Thighs and Wings

Duck and goose legs are wonderful, but they need to be cooked slow and low. You’ll find recipes for them here.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Soups, Stews and Broths

Hearty stews, refined soups and basic duck stock, plus recipes for duck demi-glace and consomme.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Duck and Goose Giblets Recipes

Don’t forget the giblets! Recipes for everything from simple seared liver to fancy dishes with hearts and gizzards.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Duck Charcuterie

Recipes for cured duck and goose meat, from whole cuts to sausages, smoked duck and terrines. This is a great use for smelly ducks like shovelers and sea ducks, by the way.
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7 responses to “Duck and Goose Recipes”

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