Taking the Gamey-Ness Out of the Duck – A Recipe

From what we can tell, the word first came about in 1863. Scientifically, the flavor comes from lactic acid. That’s the same stuff which builds-up in your muscles after doing some serious exercise. Getting a massage usually disperses the lactic acid, making the pain less severe.

So, let’s say you’re giving chase to an animal. As they try to avoid you, their muscles begin to release metabolites like malic acid, pyruvic acid and lactic acid.

More About That Gamey Taste

Gamey is a state-of-mind. Actually four states-of-mind:

  • What has the animal been eating? One person’s gamey-ness can be another one’s delicacy. One way to think about it is that during the beast’s life, it has been self-marinating.
  • You want to drain the duck of all its blood. For people of Polish decent, they love that vital juice. It’s call Czernina (charr-nina). It’s a Polish soup made of duck blood and clear poultry broth. Here in the States we simply call it “duck blood soup.” To get it to give-up its liquid, you generally hang it in a cool place. But, if the temperature changes, you end up with a little bacteria. That could be what’s giving the bird its “ripe” taste.
  • How old is the duck? The longer it’s been flying around, good chance it will have a gamey taste that’s stronger.
  • Finally, they are sexual beings. Translated: They have scent glands. Rupture one of these and there goes the musk.

Turning Down the Game

We’re going to want to marinade the duck overnight. This is what you’ll need to create the bath. It’s based on around 10 duck breasts.

  • 1/8th-cup of apple cider vinegar
  • ¼-cup of either bourbon or dry sherry
  • 1-cup soy sauce
  • ¼-cup of peanut oil
  • ¼-cup of orange juice
  • 2-tablespoons of orange zest
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • Toothpicks

Prep for Marinade Bath

Use a glass bowl. Do not use metal, even if it’s stainless steel. And if it’s plastic, you should be ashamed of yourself. Some will put it in a zip lock bag, but be classy. Use something glassy.

Mix the marinade ingredients. Cut the duck breasts into 1-inch chunks. Put the pieces in the bath and cover it with some sticky Saran Wrap.

The Next Day

Fry-up a pound of bacon, but only half-cook it. You want to make sure that the pig and the duck roast equally. Remove the fowl from the marinade. No need to dry it. Just wrap each chunk with a half-slice of live-giving bacon. Stab the duck-in-a-blanket with a wooden toothpick – make sure you go all the way through the piece.

Pull-out a cookie sheet with a lip, cover it with aluminum foil and lightly paint it with a ½-teaspoon of peanut oil.

Pre-heat the oven to 325º. Arrange the chunks on the pan; just don’t pack ‘em like sardines. The stove dings telling you it’s ready. Let the nuggets cook for about a ½-hour.

While that’s going on, chop up some bite-sized pieces of broccoli, carrots, potatoes and cauliflower. Fire-up the Dutch oven with some canola oil to about 375º. Mix a bowl of flour, a touch of baking powder, salt and pepper. In another bowl, scramble two eggs. Coat the veggies first with flour, then with the egg and one more toss in the flour. About 15-minutes before the duck is done, gently place the veggies into the hot oil.

Have a couple of dipping bowls with this stuff in ‘em:

  • A sweet-sour sauce
  • Some chunky, hot salsa
  • Ranch dressing
  • Blue cheese dressing

Eat! If you detect any game in the duck, join a circus. You have an exceptional talent.

Want more delicious recipes? Try out Cooking Your Goose!

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