The last time I roasted a duck, I stuffed the cavity of a mottled with apples and celery and onions, seasoned the skin, and basted it with melted butter every ten minutes or so. Turned out pretty tasty, as I recall.
72 hours later, I was in
having my appendix
Now, I don’t think there was any real correlation between the two. I actually believe the Grilled Chicken Sandwich I had the night prior to surgery at the local sports bar may have done me in. Or maybe it's because one night I slept on my stomach funny, who knows? It’s one of those chum markers of life – roast duck and appendectomy in the same week. Sticks with the brain.
That was in 2003. Why have I gone 9 years without tossing another bird in the oven other than the thin threat of internal surgery? Well, I didn’t really start duck hunting with any level of seriousness until a couple years ago, so supply was limited. When I did splash a few, I donated the corpses to others to cook (and clean). And the ones I did hold onto were typically woodies that ended up in breakfast sandwiches or pan-fried.
Last week a buddy arrived at the house with an assortment of packaged ducks for an intended cook-out. He was called to leave and left the ducks with me to do as I pleased. Well, he had an assortment of teal and pintail and mallards. I took one of the larger bone-in breasts and thought, “What the Hell?”
I cleaned the remainder of the feathers and detritus from the meat, patted dry and sprinkled with Old Bay Seasoning and Garlic Salt. After this, I wrapped the duck in bacon to keep it from drying out and to add flavor. I placed the bird on a roasting rack in pan filled with a 1/4-inch of water and set the oven for 350 degrees.
The duck roasted for 50 minutes as the kitchen filled with that wonderful bacon aroma. I pulled the pan out of the oven and let it cool for ten minutes before carving the meat from the breast. I’m leery of over-cooking duck and was a little concerned I had – but it turned out just on the shy side of medium. Better, though, it was tender, almost enough so a fork could cut it.
Wild duck breast is typically going to possess a stronger taste than other gamebirds, but this was certainly not gamey – which says more to how it was handled in the field than anything. Duck lends itself to a variety of dipping sauces. I rinsed the bites of breast through sriracha and various BBQ sauces. Sticky Fingers Smokehouse Carolina Classic was my favorite.
Obviously, I have a small sample size to work from, and you’re welcome to take this with a grain of salt, but this should work with your larger ducks, mallards, pintails, whistlers, etc. If you have any roast duck recipes, please share; this was pretty easy and I was pleased with the results.
And I didn’t lose an appendix this time, either.