This is both a great burger and a great way to eat diver and sea ducks without getting all that fishy flavor — you skin the duck breasts, and it’s the skin and fat that has all the nasty fishiness. Of course you could make these burgers with regular ducks or geese, too.
I added a little smoked salt to the meat mix for a punch of flavor. If you don’t have it, leave it out. Or, if you really want a smoky duck burger, replace the regular salt with more smoked salt. Chinese five spice powder adds an exotic touch without overpowering things.
I also designed everything that goes with this duck burger: caramelized onions, apple slices cooked in duck fat, and a little mustard and a green thing; I like to use sorrel leaves for their tanginess, but lettuce is fine.
- 2/3 pound skinless duck breast
- 1/3 pound fatty pork shoulder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked salt (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon Five-Spice Powder
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
- 5 tablespoons duck fat, butter or olive oil
- 1 Fuji or Jonagold (or other firm cooking apple), cored, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch slices
- Burger buns
- Lettuce or sorrel leaves
- Grind the meat. Cut the duck breast and fatty pork shoulder into 1-inch chunks and grind through the coarse die on a meat grinder. Alternately, you can pulse the meat in a food processor until you get a well-chopped mass.
- Mix the meat with the salts, black pepper and five spice powder and form into patties. When you make the patties, make sure they have a slight indent in the center of them — this helps the patties keep their shape after the meat contracts when it hits the hot pan.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the duck fat in a small pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and a little more salt. Toss to combine and saute until wilted. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover the pan and cook until the onions caramelize, about 15-20 minutes. Stir from time to time. When the onions are done, set aside.
- Heat 2 more tablespoons of duck fat in a large saute pan over medium-high heat and fry the burgers. Or you can grill them. Grill to medium-well, about 150°F in the center.
- When you flip your burgers, put the last tablespoon of duck fat in the pan you cooked the onions and set it on medium heat. Cook the apples for 3-4 minutes, turning once. Set aside on a paper towel to drain.
- To serve, put some mustard and a lettuce or sorrel leaf on a bun, then the burger and top with the caramelized onions and a couple apple slices.