Cooking Puddle Ducks
September 10 2018
Written by frogg toggs Pro-Staff, David Mullins
So, for many years of duck hunting, I thought the only ways you cooked ducks was by making jerky out of them or by grilling them with the standard bacon wrap. It was not until I took a trip to the famed Coca Cola Woods in Arkansas and had duck expert Rusty Creasey cook for us that I discovered my current favorite way to cook ducks. So, the following will be the steps in a recipe that Rusty showed me on how to prepare and cook puddle ducks. The whole key with this preparation is leaving the fat on the breasts. I couldn't believe the difference that something as simple as leaving the fat on could make in the flavor of the meat. It seems that, by doing this, the fat allows the meat to capture all the flavor and juices while cooking.
The first step when you harvest your puddle duck is plucking all the feathers off the breast. This way of preparing ducks works better with drakes because the hens have more pin feathers and are usually harder to pluck.
Once you have all the feathers off the breast, take a fillet knife and start your first cut on the lower side of the breast. You can see a separation in the color of fat on the lower side of the breast, and that's usually a good starting point. From there, cut straight in toward the breastbone and, once you reach the breastbone, you are going to fillet back up the breastbone and work toward the top. Once you reach the top, things get tricky. Instead of cutting the fat off and starting on another side, you’re going to very carefully fillet around the top of the breastbone, not breaking the connection of the fat between the two breasts. Then, you’ll work down the breastbone of the other side and out the side, the same way you came in on the opposite side. Your finished product is going to be two full breast sides that are connected by the fat.
Now for the recipe. You will need olive oil, Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, Montreal steak seasoning and a grill set at 500 degrees. Begin by taking your breasts and rubbing olive oil on both sides. Next, apply the Tony Chachere’s and Montreal steak seasoning to both sides. With the grill heated to 500 degrees, place the duck breast on the grill fat side down. The most important key to cooking the breast this way is placing the fat side of the breast facedown first on the grill. This seems to trap all the seasoning and allow the juices to hold in the meat. Once your breast is fat side down — and with exact times depending on your grill — cook for 2 to 10 minutes on each side until you reach the desired meat temperature. Once you reach the needed cooking time, take the breast off the grill and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving. That is the easiest and best way I know to cook puddle ducks.