Teriyaki duck legs. I’ll reckon that this recipe is probably done by a significant proportion of duck hunters. Why I’ve taken so long to put it on Hunter Angler Gardener Cook is beyond me. Maybe it’s because it seems so, well, simple.
Sometimes simple is good.
My recipe is designed for wild duck or wild goose legs, but you can use store-bought, too. Just remember they are going to cook faster than their wild cousins.
The way to make goose legs your favorite part of the bird is to braise them first, then grill. Yep, let them cook in the teriyaki sauce for a few hours to get tender, then get a layer of smoky, caramelized char from a quick hit over charcoal, or, even better, wood.
Real Japanese teriyaki is a grilled thing, served over that fancy charcoal they use that doesn’t smoke much. You can of course use bincho-tan charcoal, but I don’t. Still, grilled is the way to go. Not broiled if you can help it.
And while you can use store-bought teriyaki, it is often too sweet, at least to me. I have instructions on how to make your own below, and I highly recommend you do, so you can control how sweet and salty it is.
If, for some crazy reason you’ve never actually tasted teriyaki, it is sweet, salty, a little acidic from the sake and mirin, with a big burst of savory umami from the soy sauce.
It is one of the world’s great sauces, which is why its popular well beyond Japan.
Teriyaki Duck Legs
- 2 to 4 pounds duck or goose legs
- 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or malt vinegar
- Cilantro and scallions for garnish
- Braise the legs. Arrange the legs skin side up in a shallow pan and pour in all the liquid ingredients. The liquid should come up to just about the skin level of the legs. If not, add some water. Put in the oven and turn it to 300°F. Roast uncovered until the legs are tender, anywhere from 90 minutes for domesticated duck legs to 3 hours for old Canada goose legs. The specklebelly goose legs in the picture took about 2 hours.
- When the legs are tender, pour off the sauce into a small pot. Skim off some fat and use that to coat the legs when you put them on the grill. Boil the sauce down until its as salty and sticky as you want, about 10 minutes for me.
- Grill the legs. Coat the legs in some of the fat and boiled down sauce. Grill over high heat just until they get a nice char, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Serve with rice and grilled vegetables and garnished with cilantro and chopped scallions or chives.
Tim Vierth says
My girlfriends new favorite recipe.
Thank you for making great cooking easily accessible and our date nights start in the right mood.
Luke Miller says
What is your recipe for teriyaki sauce?
Mark Buckley says
hank, I have 4 farm raised ducks from a local farm in the freezer. I would love to try this recipe – i would imagine I can use the legs and thighs easily.
I’m very well versed in cooking game, though I’ve never cooked duck before. If I thaw these ducks and use the thighs/legs – can you suggest how I should prepare the remaining breast meat?
Hank Shaw says
Mark: Any of the duck breast recipes on this site (there are dozens) will work.
Chaz Burke says
Looking for some advice. I was trying to grind up some duck breasts, skin on, for use in sausage. Well, I did a pretty poor job and ended up getting a smeary mushy mixture. At this point, it’s probably not good for sausage, but what do you think I can use it for?
Hank Shaw says
Chaz: Pasta sauce or chili. Use like ground beef.
I hate that I still buy garbage chicken – it’s the one non-wild, non-grass fed protein I can’t find a reasonable (economical) substitute. But I tend to buy 10 lbs of leg quarters for $3-$4…yeah 30-40 cents a pound God knows how factory farm that is. But I find the drums to be large, tough, and full of more cartilage and tendon than I expect in chicken. This just might be a way to make better use of this until I start raising my own birds.
Ward Horack says
Have often make this with Loue duck confit using Tamari soy sauce, Dry Olorosso (substituting for mirin)and a little Spanish vinegar. So now I have a new name for it – Teriyaki Duck.
By the way, for some reason your website regularly displays script error messages while I am trying to read them (other don’t). How can I eliminate these?
Ward Horack, London