Saturday, March 8, 2014

Brining Wild Duck

I often complain about wild duck. Rick likes it fine, but to me, its bloody and gamey and makes my nose curl whenever I eat it. I guess its to each his own, but I was very determined to like it-- some way, somehow. If prepared correctly, I think anything can taste good. 

Wild duck is extremely dark, as you can see in the photo to your right. The color is almost purple or blue and this is due to the fact that ducks are very bloody. To get rid of the "gamey" taste, you have to try to leech out as much blood as you can. In the photo above, the duck has been brined for 3 days, leaving a very light exterior and a beautiful ruby red color inside. Weve tried brining before, but it made the duck really salty. So this time around, we used a combination of a light salty brine and just cold water. We also extended the brining time, because it does takes more than a day to get all that blood out. When it came around time to cook, Rick said, "Wild duck-- the other white meat!" The meat no longer smelled and tasted "gamey." You dont have to brine for 3 whole days, like we did. I think 2 days will do just fine. It also depends on your own taste. 

Ingredients: Should be enough brine for the breasts of 2 ducks
- 4 cups of water
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar 

1. In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Then add kosher salt and brown sugar. Mix until dissolved. Turn off heat and allow brine to cool.  
Our duck breasts were cut up into big chunks. You can do the same or keep them whole. 

See how dark they are?
2. Move the breasts to a nonreactive bowl.
3. Submerge the duck breasts with cooled brine, covering completely. It is important that you let the brine cool completely. Adding hot/warm brine will ruin your meat and encourage bacterial growth. 
Cover and store in the refrigerator. Brine overnight and replace the bloody brine with ice water the next day. 
Replace the water when it gets bloody. We did this for three days. We did not use a salty brine b/c we didnt want to add more salt to the meat. Water works fine. After three days, the meat will look light on the outside like this, almost gray. Remove the breasts from the bloody water, rinse in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Youre ready to cook!

Look for our Inside-Out, Brown Sugar Glazed Jalapeno Duck Poppers and Philly Cheesesteak Duck Rolls in the next few days!

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