Cooking Bluebill

Duck hunting for diver species like Canvasbacks, Redheads, Ringnecks, Eiders, Goldeneye and other diver ducks.

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Cooking Bluebill

Postby phutch30 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:58 pm

Anyone ever plucked and roasted a bluebill?

Let me state I love eating duck. My family eats over 100 a yr...most of which are roasted. Having stated that, 99.99% are puddle ducks. The other.01% are redheads and Cans with a very, very rare occasion bluebill thrown in.

In the past they have always been cooked on kabobs after being marinated and couldn't tell the what was what

I Shot a juvi drake on Sat that was only hit in the head so I plucked it with the mallards and widgeon and plan on roasting it tonight.

Just curious on past experiences from others
....its like taking x-lax when you have a bad cough. It wont clear up your lungs, but it sure stops you from coughing
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Re: Cooking Bluebill

Postby Rick Hall » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:40 am

My first bills were from Lake Erie, where everyone I knew smoked them, and we'd whittle on cold smoked bills with pocket knives for blind snacks. But I've had them pot-roasted down here in rice country by a Cajun cook that knew her business, and they were excellent.
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Re: Cooking Bluebill

Postby phutch30 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:19 am

So I roasted it with the 2 mallards and 2 widgeon I cooked for the family...everyone gets a duck. In this case I cooked also cooked a big fat mallard for myself in case the bluebill wasn't up to snuff...as it worked out I ate both. LOL

Heavy salt/pepper on the outside and onto the cookie sheet and into the oven at 375 degrees. I use a the digital thermometer when cooking ducks and cooked it till internal temp of the breast was 147 degrees like I do with all my roasted ducks. Then took it out and let it sit for 5 min to rest

I gotta say it was good. Id eat one this way again. This one was a young of the yr bird so maybe that made the difference. There was no off taste at all.. To be fair it was every bit as good as the drake mallard I ate too
....its like taking x-lax when you have a bad cough. It wont clear up your lungs, but it sure stops you from coughing
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Re: Cooking Bluebill

Postby Smith » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:48 am

We don't roast our ducks, we breast them and cook them on the stovetop or via a sous vide setup.
But as far as the various species go:
The most important thing in cooking bluebills, or any other duck, is to avoid overcooking them. Most ducks are great if left red or pink in the middle. If cooked gray through, any duck breast transforms from a beautiful meal into a liver-flavored hockey puck.
If cooking a mixed bag of ducks in one pan, the litlte teal or bufflehead breasts will have to be removed almost immediately, followed by the mid-sized bluebills, etc. , while the bigger breasts, such as cans or mallards, will have to cook for a couple more minutes. Just keep an eye for the inner color to start changing from deep red, to pink.
Given a good marinade and by not overcooking, they all taste great, and apart from size, we can scarcely tell one species from another.
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Re: Cooking Bluebill

Postby NCGWP » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:17 am

I have had them roasted whole and they were fine.

But what I do with them is pluck the breast, breast them skin-on, and cook in a little bit of Olive Oil with steak seasoning in a skillet. That is better than any filet mignon I've ever tasted.

As stated above, most people that make the "Tastes like tough liver" claim overcook them.
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Re: Cooking Bluebill

Postby don novicki » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:19 pm

Breasted out, dipped in buttermilk batter, then onto the bread crumbs to which I add Salt, pepper, onion powder, and Old Bay seasonings. Then off to a hot pan with a generous amt. of real butter, 2 min per side and viola some great eating stuff. Cut the breasts into small strips so you can see how they are doing. Do not overcook.
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Re: Cooking Bluebill

Postby Quacker-Wacker » Sun Dec 16, 2018 7:07 am

don novicki, that sounds good, how do you make your buttermilk batter?
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Re: Cooking Bluebill

Postby don novicki » Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:03 am

Just 1 cup of buttermilk and 1 egg whipped up with a fork. Just a one to one ratio. Do not overcook. How's the hunting been up there. I'm just outside of Erie Pa and it's been bad here.
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Re: Cooking Bluebill

Postby Quacker-Wacker » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:49 pm

I just got out the last day of the regular season on the Niagara River and 3 of us got 6 bluebills, 1 can, 1 redhead and 1 bufflehead so I thought it was pretty damn good! The second season starts up the day after Christmas and I'm seeing hundreds of cans just loafing by the water intakes by Niagara Falls so that's a good sign.
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Re: Cooking Bluebill

Postby John Singer » Sun May 10, 2020 5:42 am

I plucked a couple of bluebills that I shot this past November.

I recently cooked one for dinner.

Using a pair of game shears, I split the the bird into two halves lengthwise.

I then mixed a dry brine of 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 salt with some pepper. I rubbed this generously on the meat and placed the bird in a covered glass dish in the refrigerator for several hours.

I then grilled the bird on a gas grill.

Bluebills are not as mild as ringneck or redheads prepared in the same manner but it is still pretty good.
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