pluck or breast

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pluck or breast

Postby hntreric » Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:46 am

New to this site, so I just wanted to know if more hunters pluck their birds and cook them whole or breast out their birds. I personally pick mine always have. Ducks look so much better coming out of the oven whole. Just my opinion :salude:
Ducks from the bay taste like fish
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Postby fowlaholic » Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:58 am

i skin mine
gettin out is all the fun if you bag a bird thats a bonus
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Postby phutch30 » Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:41 am

I pluck everything that is too shot up. 95% of my birds end up whole on a roasting pan.
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Postby duckjumper » Mon Feb 26, 2007 7:23 pm

pluck. The only thing I skin are coots. The skin and fat are two of the best parts of eating ducks (unless you are in diver country) and ducks pluck easy, especially if you wax them. If you need to know how to do this, look it up on this forum - there are lots of threads on this.
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Postby jehler » Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:23 am

I almost always breast my birds but i do so after plucking the breast so i can cut out the skin and the fat with the meat. I cook by searing in a really hot pan skin down first then i move it to a hot oven until med-rare while i deglaze and assemble some kind of sauce(always different). You guys that pluck the whole bird, am i missing out? is there enough meat to warrant the work? how do you cook the whole bird through without over cooking? i dont shoot coots but a lot of divers and they make superb sausage!
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Postby duckjumper » Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:43 am

Cooking smaller ducks whole is reasonably easy without overcooking. Bigger ducks are tougher, but then you have larger leg/thighs to work with. A smaller duck (teal, wigeon, woodie, etc) I will coat in olive oil, salt then put in a pan atop 2 stalks of celery (keeps the duck from sitting in its juices and promotes crispyness) in a 450 degree oven. It'll be done in 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the duck. If you want extra crispyness, brown the skin of the duck in the pan on the stove first, then reduce cooking time to 8-12 min. Your breast should be 150 degrees (use a meat thermometer); this is a little warm is you're doing jsut breasts (it's medium) but it will let the leg/thighs cook a bit more. It's a happy compromise...

Big ducks I pluck, then take the leg/thighs off to braise or otherwise slow cook. jehler, you are *definitely* missing out on something special here. Slow roasted/braised/crock-potted leg/thighs of a big duck are sometimes better than the breasts. Do this with mallards/pintails/gadwalls/canvasbacks etc. You know, big ducks. Works GREAT for geese, too.
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Postby jjohnson_714 » Wed Mar 07, 2007 11:05 am

i breast mine. say what you want, but to me it's not worth the time or hassle for two tiny little drumsticks and thighs. plus i can breast a duck in about 30 seconds or so, so it's a lot faster. and i'm not big on roasted duck anyways...
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Postby jehler » Wed Mar 07, 2007 11:07 am

duckjumper, you have got me thinking for next season. i have a recipe for "high roast chicken" from cooks illustrated, you cut out the spine and butterfly the bird on a broiling pan with cubed potatoes underneath to absorb the drippings & hinder smoke, cook in a really hot oven, we get a lot of teal and wood ducks early in our season do you think this would work with these? as for the legs and thighs of bigger birds, are you talking only moist slow cooking? will two or three hours in a 250 convection oven uncovered dry them out or make them fall of the bone good? i have a lot of cooking experience and have always treated the breast as a filet with skin but the effort of plucking has kept me from experimenting with the rest of the bird. Thanks, next fall i will try to do some justice to the rest of the bird. i'll let you know how it goes
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Postby duckjumper » Wed Mar 07, 2007 3:00 pm

Yep - I am talking about moist cooking for the leg/thighs - although you could brine them and then smoke them (very yummy!) That Cook's Illustrated recipe would work just fine, especially if you take out the keel bone after you plit the bird (it will stay flatter)

As for plucking, I am a total convert to the wax method. You can buy cheap wax in the canning section of your supermarket, which you then drop into a big pot of hot (not boiling!) water. When it melts, dip your rough-plucked (clip the ends of the wings, then all the big feathers - leave all the down) bird into the wax/water, then chuck into a cooler/sink full of COLD water (this sets the wax) Once it's set, peel and you have a duck that looks store-bought it's so nice. I can do a duck in about 5 minutes that way.
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Postby jehler » Wed Mar 07, 2007 3:13 pm

I'm guessing you re-use the wax, let it harden, breakit up & store it until next time? how much wax, an inch or so thick on top of the water?
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Postby phutch30 » Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:11 pm

As far a plucking or breasting goes. check your regs. In MT and some other states I have hunted its illegal to waste the legs on mallard sized ducks and the wings and legs on geese. So just breasting a bird would constitute waste.

If you want a fool proof way of roasting a whole duck big or small. Pluck the whole bird, singe it with a propane torch then gut. The key to moist tender duck is not to over cook it. I roast well over 100 ducks and geese from teal sized to big northern mallards to 15lb canadas every year.

Here is the secret- Buy a digital thermometer and never cook a goose past 175 degrees and duck past 185. I generally take geese out at 173 and ducks out at 183 and let them sit for a couple of min. The meat will be pink not bloody. This is with the thermometer probe in the thickest part of the breast 3/4 of the way through the meat (between the skin and breast bone). It works without fail. The legs are my favorite part they are always tender and juicy. Sometimes you will get a tough 20 year old canada but even then they are not too bad.

I have never cooked just a breast this way so cant comment.
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Postby duck huntin mamou » Thu Mar 08, 2007 7:52 pm

we normally breast divers like blackjacks and snow geese but puck everything else
Chuck Norris bites the hand that feeds him,and eats their entrails.
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Postby 1 of each » Sat Apr 07, 2007 10:13 am

why waist the time plucking all you eat is the breast anyhow. I normally just make popper's or duck stripes anyway both go great with beer :cheers:
just because there is a blind in a rice check doesn't mean theres any ducks
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Postby Old Duck Getter » Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:30 am

I pluck some for roasting and breast some for duck fingers. On the ducks that I breast I cut out the thighs and legs and put them in the smoker to have as snacks when I go fishing. It doesn't take that much extra time to peel out the legs. On the ducks I pluck, I do it as soon as they get back to the blind. It takes no time to get the feathers off when they are still warm. You can take your pictures if you leave the wings on to cover the bare parts.
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