My favorite way to save the bounty of our hunting season for the warmer months is to smoke it. Holly and I spend the majority of our winter days hunting ducks and geese, which we eat several times per week. At the time, I kept a lot of confit, salami, and cured goose “prosciutto.” But I’m also going to smoke some duck and goose and freeze it for the rest of the year. Those who know a smoker understand the importance of fat in the smoking process.
Smoke flavor is better absorbed by fat than by meat. This is why there are so many recipes for smoked pork and salmon; both are fatty animals. Waterfowl are as well. Domestic ducks and geese are basically fowl pigs, and even wild ducks have enough fat to warrant smoking. To get to this post, I smoked a flock of ducks and geese, so here are my thoughts on what to do and what to avoid.
To begin, if you’re working with domestic ducks and geese, you’ll want to remove as much fat as possible from the body cavity and around the neck. Save it, though, and use it to make duck fat later. Prick the skin of a domestic duck or goose with a needle, being careful not to pierce the meat. This aids in the escape of processed fat. I’ve even done it with obese mallards like pintail and gadwall that had overindulged on rice.
- 1 large duck or small wild goose
- 1/4 cup thick maple syrup
- After thoroughly salting the duck inside the cavity, apply the maple syrup to the outside of the bird. Extensively salt the outside.
- Put the bird in the smoker with a drip tray underneath. For 4 hours, smoke between 200 and 225 degrees on apple wood. Every hour, drizzle the ducks with maple syrup. Allow it to cool completely before slicing it after it has been smoked. Serve cold or at room temperature as a cold meat or appetizer, or brown the entire breast in a skillet. Cut into pieces and serve with lentils.
- Hank Shaw's cookbook contains everything you need to know to master waterfowl. Duck Duck and goose. If you want a traditional smoked duck served cold as a cold cut or appetizer, keep the temperature between 200 and 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- This will still produce some oil but will not crisp the skin; the crispiness of the duck skin will be lost once the duck is cooled and placed in the refrigerator. In terms of time, allow at least 3 hours and up to 6 hours. The pink salt is required if you go to the far end of this scale. Allow the duck to cool before slicing it.
- Smoked duck, thinly and diagonally sliced, is delicious as an appetizer or in a sandwich. You can also slice a whole breast and brown the skin side in a skillet until crisp again before serving with lentils or polenta. Use your imagination once more.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 235Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 49mgSodium 183mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 0gSugar 12gProtein 12g