When to gut

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When to gut

Postby DuckMN » Fri Oct 05, 2007 10:28 pm

We always breast our birds. Usually its below 50 when we shoot em so we put them in the back of the truck for the 2 hour ride home. Now thanks to global warming, we get a lot of 80's. I'm wondering at what point, if at all, does one need to gut a duck thats going to be breasted. I've always been under the impression you dont really need to if your breasting them. Does it change if they are shot up?
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Postby Smackaduck » Sat Oct 06, 2007 6:49 am

I dont think so. I have never been sick or had foul meat from not doing it right away. Some people say you should gut them immediately. Especially because it can be HOT here. We hunt until about 10 or so depending on the birds, wrap up drive home and I put the ducks in the fridge and clean them on sunday afternoon. I do most mine whole though.
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Postby dudejcb » Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:55 pm

in the olden days they used to hang ducks and upland birds with the guts in, till they were nearly rotten. Hell, the English used to eat rotten guts... "sweetbreads" what a euphanism. personally I try to stay away from green meat unless it's on beef, but there is something to the aging process.

As meat ages it becomes more tender (the connective tissues begin to break down) and flavorful (I forget why this is but it's true).

There are a couple of books that explain the science behind aging and cooking. The first is titled On Cooking: the science and lore of the kitchen . It doesn't have recipes but it explains why food tastes like it does and how to make it tase the way you want. Really good book for anyone intersted in being a good cook.

the second is a much older book put out by the Department of Agriculture and it tells how to butcher and process everything. So if you intend to butcher your own deer and elk, it might be worthwhile. It's intersting to see how people did things in the old days before processing plants.
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Postby StormWidgeon » Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:44 pm

To me it depends on the hike and how many birds I have. If I have a good ways to hike I clean the birds in the field. If I'm close to the truck I'll take em' home.

Field cleaned birds.

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Follow up questions

Postby Double JL » Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:20 am

Question about the aging process and wanted some insight. I have been "told" to gut my ducks usually no later than after the hunt and let them age in the "garage frig" feathers and all for 4-5 days give or take. Does anyone else do this? Also, I was wondering about searing the meat (breast)? Is it safe to eat Rare Duck Meat? I am hoping for info from people who have actually done the above with or without good results. Thanks.
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Postby dudejcb » Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:48 pm

I eat rare duck all the time. In fact, that's the only way I'll eat duck unless the recipe includes some moisture and flavoring technique that keeps the meat moist and covers the "liver" effect that emrges with overcooked duck/goose. (One way to do this is to stuff the whole bird cavity with sauerkraut and slow bake at 250 for three hours or more. The salt from the sauerkraut will draw moisture inward and somewhat counter the effect of the heat driving the moisture outward. another option with foul tasting duck breasts, from somewhere like the Salton Sea, is to use Lipton's onion soup mix and slow cook the breasts in the soup, in a crock pot.)

The only rare duck I would not eat (assuming a good tasting species) is when they have the little white cyst looking parasite things streaked throughout the meat. The Fish & Game guys say these ducks are okay to eat but need to be fully cooked... questionable call.

Generally, the interior of all meat (and most internal organs except the digestive tract) is sterile. That's why, in emergency situations, you can use your own urine to clean a deep wound... it's sterile. Typically, bacteria only exists on the exterior of meats, but can be introduced throughout the meat by grinding, which is why hamburger needs to reach 170 degrees throughout... to kill any bugs. And I suppose the same thing goes for shot birds. As the pellet penetrates through the meat it may deposit bacteria that it picked up going through the feathers, but I've been eating rare duck for fifty years and ain't dead yet.

Think about it. every time you breath you inhale airborn bacteria, and you wind up ingesting bacteria that has fallen upon any food sitting oot for any length of time. Most bacteria is benign, but the deadly one's are of concern and they are much less widespread.
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Thanks for the quick reply

Postby Double JL » Wed Oct 17, 2007 3:49 pm

Thanks for the info on rare duck; its next on the menu. Do you age your birds with feathers in the refrig? Also, I noticed your from Idaho. I have done extensive hunting north of Sandpoint, Moscow, and my favorite Stanley. I wish I was in Stanley now. Thanks again!
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re: when to gut

Postby ant » Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:16 pm

quick question: if i decided to put 2 ducks in the freezer intact feathers and all, wrapped up for the taxidermist..then decide i want to eat them instead...am i screwed out of some tasty fillets? any ideas on this?
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Aging birds

Postby WingBreaker » Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:20 pm

I leave them whole, un-gutted in the fridge for varying lengths of time mostly related to the size of the bird.

I have a fridge in my basement that is reserved for beer/ birds.

Mallards I leave for at least a week, but I have gone two without issue.
Divers get two weeks.
Small ducks like teal/wood ducks get a day or two.

I find that aging the birds(whole) takes the mud taste right out of them.
My ducks taste like farm raised when I eat them.
I eat all of my duck rare to medium rare, and I have never died from it, not even once. ;)

Seriously, wild birds don't get salmonella.
Aging your whole birds makes them tender and tasty(I have never tried a whole bird this way, I breast them out)

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Postby dudejcb » Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:54 pm

my only thought on the freezer thing is that when you do finally take them out of the freezer, they could be hard to gut and waiting for them to thaw sufficiently might be weird.

One time when I was a little kid, my dad and older brother shot a bunch of ducks, didn't have time to clean all of them, and threw a bunch in the freezer feathers and all. Several months later we took some out for dinner and my brother was supposed to clean them. I don't recall what exactly was to blame (the freezer or my brother... but I'm leaning toward my brother) but one of my sisters seemed to think she had eaten a lung... This only matters if you're going to cok the birds whole, which I prefer, but is more of a hassle.

In my brother's defense (he was 13 or 14 at the time) I can imagine that trying to gut and clean oput the cavity of a semi frozen duck might not be as esay as cleaning one that was only chilled, not frozen.
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Postby R.Watts » Sat Oct 27, 2007 12:28 pm

I usually breast them out, or pluck them, then place the meat in a bowl of water, and then in the fridge, and change the water every other day for about a week or so to "bleed" them out, similar of what I do to deer and hog except for not using ice. This helps get rid of the strong gamey taste. When we have colder weather, we will hang our ducks & geese from a chain link fence for up to 3 days before cleaning, then I soak them in water for a day or so. This helps them taste great in every which way. you cook.
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