Cooking the kill

Hunting ducks is fun. Cooking them is a lot tougher. Waterfowl are easily the most difficult of all wild game to cook.

Rolling marinated boneless breasts in bacon and grilling them has claimed the loyalty of a lot of duck hunters, but unless a duck cook has a good recipe for whole birds his culinary arsenal is incomplete.

Mike Branton came up with this recipe at his duck camp by looking through the camp’s cabinets and making do with what he had on hand. He smokes his birds in an electric smoker, almost a necessity for his recipe because of the need for a low cooking temperature to be held for eight hours.

The birds need to be injected, seasoned and marinated overnight in a refrigerator the day before they are to be cooked. As lagniappe to the smoked duck recipe, Pat Bordelon’s Spicy Green Pepper Corn with Sausage recipe, a perfect trimming for the ducks is included.

Smoked Duck

Even though Branton is a fan of all things Phil Robertson, he allows that Creole seasoning can be substituted (using ¾ as much) for Phil Robertson’s seasoning if it is unavailable. You will need a seasoning injector for this recipe.

The seasoning will turn the ducks’ skins very dark. This is expected and no cause for alarm, and in fact the crispy skin is one of the prime features of the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium-sized ducks, plucked, not skinned
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Louisiana hot sauce
  • 4 tbsp Dale’s (liquid) Steak Seasoning
  • 3 tbsp Phil Robertson’s Cajun Style Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
  1. Wash the ducks and pat them dry with paper towels.
  2. Mix the ingredients well and inject ¾ of the mixture through the vent openings into the meat under the ducks’ skins, being careful not to puncture the skin anywhere. Rub the remainder of the marinade on the birds’ skins, and then season them liberally with more Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning.
  3. Put the ducks in a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight to marinade.
  4. The next day, set the smoker for 260 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Place the birds on perforated foil on a smoker rack with a drip pan beneath and cook for eight hours. They are ready when their thighs are loose from the bodies.

Serves 4.

Spicy Green Pepper Corn with Sausage

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 link (1/3 pound) smoked sausage sliced into ½-inch rings
  • 2 15-ounce cans whole kernel corn
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Saute onion and peppers in olive oil in a 2-quart pot until soft.
  2. Add the smoked sausage and continue to cook until the sausage begins to break down.
  3. Add the corn and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cook on medium heat until the corn shows some signs of slight browning. You might need to add more olive oil to keep the corn from sticking to the pot.
  5. Turn the heat down to simmer and cook about 15 minutes so that the flavors blend. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

Jerald Horst
About Jerald Horst 952 Articles
Jerald Horst is a retired Louisiana State University professor of fisheries. He is an active writer, book author and outdoorsman.